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The Democratic candidate in a competitive Virginia House district denounced reports that she and her husband had performed sexual acts on a live-streaming pornographic website, describing the sharing of those videos as “corrupt politics at its worst.” .

The existence of sexually explicit videos, first reported by The Washington Post on Monday, has injected a highly sensitive issue into one of the most competitive races in this fall’s battle for control of the Virginia General Assembly.

Susanna Gibson, a nurse practitioner, faces Republican David Owen, a retired homebuilder, in District 57, a suburban Richmond seat that is key to Democratic hopes of toppling the 50-46 Republican majority in the November election. . It is one of seven competitive state House districts, according to the Virginia Public Access Project, a nonpartisan organization.

Meanwhile, Democrats are defending a 22-18 majority in the state Senate. The outcome of this year’s congressional elections could determine whether Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin can enact conservative policies, including a ban on abortion at 15 weeks, amid speculation about his possible late entry into the 2024 Republican presidential race.

Gibson, a 40-year-old mother of two young children, and her husband, a lawyer, allegedly streamed sexual acts in exchange for “advice” on a live-streaming pornographic website. Those videos were recorded and then archived elsewhere. The Post reported that a Republican operative had alerted it to the existence of the videos. CNN has not independently verified the content of the videos.

The videos were first livestreamed on a website that is not password protected and where The Post reported the couple had more than 5,700 followers. Gibson’s attorney, Daniel P. Watkins, said sharing the videos violated the state’s revenge porn law.

“Capturing and disseminating this content without permission is illegal recording and clearly violates Virginia’s revenge porn statute. “We are working closely with authorities to hold wrongdoers accountable,” she told CNN in an email.

“This is an illegal invasion of my privacy designed to humiliate me and my family. He will not intimidate me or silence me,” Gibson said in a statement shared with CNN on Tuesday.

“My political opponents and their Republican allies have demonstrated that they are willing to commit a sexual crime to attack me and my family because there is no line they will not cross to silence women when they speak,” she said. “They’re trying to silence me because they want to silence you, and I won’t let that happen.”

He added: “My opponent and his allies know that the people of this district are on our side on these issues, so they are stooping to the worst of scoundrel politics. “There is a lot at stake in this election and I will never stop fighting for our community.”

Owen, Gibson’s Republican opponent, said in a statement that he learned of the videos’ existence Monday when the Post story was published “like everyone else.”

“I am sure this is a difficult time for Susanna and her family, and I remain focused on my campaign,” he said.

The Virginia House Democratic Caucus declined to comment and instead pointed to Gibson’s statement.

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