Congressman John Tierney tried to put his wife's legal troubles behind him during a contentious television debate last night with Republican Bill Hudak.
Fox 25 news anchor Maria Stephanos began by asking Tierney about his wife, Patrice, who pleaded guilty Wednesday to four counts of aiding and abetting the filing of false federal tax returns. She admitted to managing a bank account for her brother, Robert Eremian, that contained $7 million of his illegal gambling profits.
"You live with your wife: How could this go on for so long, for so many years, and you didn't know a thing about it?" Stephanos said.
"This is the 21st century and what Patrice does with her family and family business is not something, as her husband, that I look over and monitor day to day," Tierney said. "I'm a little surprised at the question."
The Salem Democrat then attempted to shift the debate to Hudak, saying the lawyer from Boxford had views that were "way out of touch with the district."
But Stephanos returned the conversation to Tierney's wife, addressing the congressman's surprise.
"I think it is relevant here because I think that your constituents would like to know what it is that you knew about this," Stephanos said. "I live with my husband. He owns his own business. I know the clients that he has. I know the money that's coming into the household."
"Well that's interesting, Maria, because it wasn't a business that she was running. It was about (her brother's) children and the accounts of (his) household and things like that," Tierney said. "Maybe your household is different, but mine has gone into the 21st century and I respect my wife. We have a loving and caring relationship and I respect her, and I know that she is able to take care of those records."