Lee mum on details of conversation with accused lawmaker

July 11, 2019
FILE - In this Feb. 28, 2018 file photo, Rep. David Byrd speaks about a bill he is sponsoring that will allow school employees to carry guns at the Cordell Hull Building in Nashville, Tenn. Byrd who is accused of sexual misconduct is denying he's been asked by Republican Gov. Bill Lee not to run for reelection next year. The Tennessee Republican lawmaker Byrd texted The Associated Press on Wednesday, July 10, 2019, that Lee had not called him seeking to persuade him from running for a fourth term in the GOP-dominated Statehouse. (George Walker IV/The Tennessean via AP, File)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Gov. Bill Lee is remaining mum on details surrounding a recent conversation he had with a Tennessee lawmaker accused of sexual misconduct.

Lee said on Thursday his conversation with Republican Rep. David Byrd was private and declined to confirm whether he had asked Byrd not to seek reelection. However, Lee said he wouldn’t run for reelection if he was in Byrd’s position.

Byrd texted The Associated Press Wednesday denying Lee attempted to persuade him from running again. He then asked to retract the statement by describing the conversation as “private.”

Byrd has been accused by three women of sexual misconduct decades ago when he was a high school teacher and coach but never charged. He hasn’t outright denied the allegations but has said he’s sorry if he hurt his students.

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