Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock on Tuesday asked a Georgia judge to seal his contentious custody battle from the public, arguing that his opponent could use the case to “gain a political advantage,” according to a court, because he “currently running for re-election”. Application of the Washington Free Beacon.
Warnock filed the request in a joint proposal with his ex-wife Oulèye Ndoye after media renewed attention to their divorce. Warnock and Ndoye said in the filing that there is an “overriding interest that is likely to disadvantage the parties and their minor children if the custody amendment hearings are not completed.” The motion states that Warnock is a “public figure serving in political office” and is “currently a candidate for re-election to that political office.”
“[Warnock’s] The opposition uses the public records to gain political advantage or gain,” the filing said, adding that their children could be hurt “by any unstable person who sympathizes with their opponent.”
If the judge agrees to seal the records, it could allow Warnock to avoid a chaotic public domestic struggle as he faces one of the midterms’ most competitive races.
Ndoye reopened the dispute in a court case in February, accusing Warnock of neglecting his children and failing to pay for childcare, leaving them “financially strapped”. Ndoye claimed Warnock refused to pay the childcare costs she had to shoulder when he failed to show up for his custody days. She also said he “routinely neglects” to notify her when he travels out of town during his visiting days, and instead has the kids “made by friends to pick them up from school and [leaves] her overnight with different “babysitters” while he’s gone.
In 2020, Ndoye accused Warnock of intentionally running his Tesla over her foot during a fight. The couple married in 2016 and divorced in 2020.
Fulton County Superior Court Judge Shermela J. Williams ordered the couple to participate in mediation and try to reach an out-of-court settlement by May 7. She scheduled a status hearing for May 16.
This isn’t the first time Warnock has taken legal action to keep its litigation under wraps. He also had his divorce papers sealed in 2019 just prior to running for Senate.
Warnock will not face a Republican opponent until the GOP primary in late May. He will likely face Republican frontrunner Herschel Walker in the race, who could decide party control in the US Senate.