A lawsuit filed with the Wake County Clerk of Superior Court this week could have serious implications for the North Carolina Republican Party, as House Speaker Tim Moore has been accused of not only aggressively pursuing and participating in an affair with a woman he knew to be married but also engaging in sexual activity with other people seeking his political favor.
The 17-page complaint, filed by former Apex Town Council member Scott Lassiter on Sunday, details how a love triangle involving three members of the NC GOP unfolded over three years, coming to a head in January 2023.
The lawsuit asks for no less than $200,000 from Moore as reparation for “the loss of support and companionship of [Lassiter’s wife], humiliation, injury to [Lassiter’s] reputation, and mental anguish resulting from the destruction of his marriage,” citing North Carolina laws that prohibit “the alienation of affection” in a marriage by a third party, among other violations.
The suit claims that Moore worked with Scott Lassiter’s wife, Jamie Lassiter, in her capacity as the executive director of the NC Conference of Clerks, and “aggressively pursued a sexual relationship with Mrs. Lassiter” beginning in 2019 and lasting through January 2023.
The suit alleges that, having heard persistent rumors about a relationship between his wife and Moore, Scott Lassiter had his wife surveilled one night in December 2022. Lassiter claims that this is how he discovered that his wife had gone to Sullivan’s Steakhouse in Raleigh with Moore followed by a trip to Moore’s home, “where they spent hours together and, upon information and belief, had sexual intercourse.”
When Jamie Lassiter returned home in the early morning hours following this visit with Moore, according to the suit, her husband confronted her about not going to a movie with her female friend, as she had claimed to be doing.
It was during this confrontation that, “Mrs. Lassiter tearfully confessed that she had been involved in an extramarital affair with Defendant Tim Moore for more than three years, that she had engaged in sexual activity with Defendant Tim Moore (including group sex with other individuals seeking Defendant Tim Moore’s political favor), and that she feared ending the relationship with Defendant Tim Moore would result in losing her job,” the lawsuit claims.
Scott Lassiter then claims that he insisted on meeting with Moore to confront him about the relationship, and when the two met at a Biscuitville in Raleigh, Moore admitted to the affair.
“Near the end of the meeting, Defendant Tim Moore asked [Scott Lassiter] ‘on a completely unrelated note’ if there was anything he could do for [Scott], implying that he could use the power he held as Speaker in some way to benefit [Scott].”
Scott Lassiter claims to have turned down that offer. He goes on to state that he and his wife attempted to work through their marital issues, but in the end, Jamie Lassiter would not agree to leave Moore for fear that doing so would result in repercussions for herself and the NC Conference of Clerks.
“Mrs. Lassiter begged [Scott] to understand that she had ‘gotten [herself] into something [she] couldn’t get out of,’ referring to her relationship with Defendant Tim Moore,” the lawsuit reads.
The two officially separated on Jan. 11, 2023, according to the suit.
Lassiter also lists a second unnamed defendant in the lawsuit who he claims tried to install cameras on his property in an effort to blackmail and harass him at the behest of Moore.
Alienation of affection on trial
Scott Lassiter’s suit demands a jury trial in the case, a process that has been welcomed by Moore’s attorneys, who have denied any wrongdoing by their client.
Moore himself has called the suit “a baseless lawsuit from a troubled individual,” adding that, “we will vigorously defend this action and pursue all available legal remedies.”
In an exclusive interview with WBTV’s Nick Oschner on Tuesday night, Moore admitted to carrying on a relationship with Jamie Lassiter, but insisted she was already separated from Scott at the time.
For her part, Jamie Lassiter released a statement to WRAL on Monday stating that Scott Lassiter is lying in the lawsuit and that the two have actually been separated for years.
“Scott Lassiter has serious mental health and substance abuse issues, which I can only assume led him to file this outrageous and defamatory suit,” Jamie Lassiter told WRAL. “The claims are not only false but impossible as we’ve been separated with a signed separation document for years.
“To be clear, I’m a strong professional woman, and the only person who has ever abused me or threatened my career was my soon to be ex-husband,” she continued. “Our marriage was a nightmare, and since I left him it has gotten worse. We are reaching the end of our divorce process, and this is how he’s lashing out.”
North Carolina is one of only a handful of states that still recognizes the claim of alienation of affection as the basis for a lawsuit.
According to Charlotte-based Sodoma Law, any person filing an alienation of affection lawsuit must show three things: that there was a marriage with existing love and affection, that the love and affection was destroyed, and that it was destroyed by the wrongful and intentional acts of a third party.
The alienation of affection law, along with a “criminal conversation” law also cited in Lassiter’s lawsuit, both have roots in the common-law “belief that a husband owned his wife and was entitled to compensation for a lost property interest in her sexual fidelity,” as laid out by The Assembly’s Jeffrey Billman on Tuesday.
It’s unclear what the timeline for a potential trial is for this case, though some are raising the alarm about the larger implications of the claims made in the lawsuit.
As progressive nonprofit organization Carolina Forwarded tweeted on Tuesday, “What Tim Moore does with other consenting adults in his personal life isn’t particularly interesting (aside from the obvious hypocrisy after all the moralistic ‘family values’ scolding). But the allegation that he trades favors for cooperation demands an investigation.”
SUPPORT OUR WORK: Get better connected and become a member of Queen City Nerve to support local journalism for as little as $5 per month. Our community journalism helps inform you through a range of diverse voices.
This work by Queen City Nerve is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.