Originally created 07/31/05

Sanford spokesman will make guilty plea



COLUMBIA - A spokesman for Gov. Mark Sanford said Friday night that he would plead guilty to a domestic violence charge after the governor commented on the case, calling it a "very stupid and tragic mistake."

Will Folks, who had resigned from his position effective Aug. 1, said, "If the man I helped get elected governor and worked side-by-side with for four years has already decided that I'm guilty of a 'stupid and tragic mistake,' then I guess my luck with 12 people I've never met before probably isn't all that great."

Mr. Folks said he would request pretrial intervention. Someone accepted into such a program could be required to perform community service and take other steps, such as counseling, in exchange for clearing the first-time offender's record.

Earlier, Mr. Sanford told The Associated Press he had called Mr. Folks to check on him.

"Will and I have been through a lot together over the years, but this is one of those things you cannot accept in one of my boys, who I love more than anything here on Earth ... or somebody I've grown very fond to over the years," he said.

Mr. Folks denied accusations that he shoved his fiance, Ashley Smith, into furniture at their home during an argument July 21.

Mr. Folks said Ms. Smith grabbed him as he tried to leave.

"I don't know if she let go of me and fell or exactly what happened," Mr. Folks said. "I'm not saying that she fell on purpose, but I know I didn't intentionally grab her in such a way to make her fall."