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Disgraced California lawmaker denies affairs

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - A pro-family values California lawmaker who resigned after being caught on tape boasting about his sexual conquests denied Thursday that he had extramarital affairs, saying "my offense was engaging in inappropriate storytelling."

Mike Duvall stepped down Wednesday after a videotape surfaced in which he was overheard telling a lawmaker about having sex with a lobbyist and another woman, including salacious details about how one mistress wears skimpy underwear and likes to be spanked.

The 54-year-old Republican is married with two adult children.

Duvall said Thursday his "decision to resign is in no way an admission that I had an affair or affairs."

"My offense was engaging in inappropriate storytelling and I regret my language and choice of words. The resulting media coverage was proving to be an unneeded distraction to my colleagues, and I resigned in the hope that my decision would allow them to return to the business of the state," he said in a statement posted on his Web site.

Duvall made the comments about the affairs to Assemblyman Jeff Miller, R-Corona, during a break in a committee meeting inside the Capitol on July 8, apparently unaware the microphone at the desk was on.

"I'm getting into spanking her," Duvall is heard saying on the videotape, which was made as a matter of routine by a legislative office.

Miller asks if she likes it. Duvall responds: "She goes, 'I know you like spanking me.' I said, 'Yeah, that's 'cause you're such a bad girl.'"

The lawmaker had received a 100 percent rating from Capitol Resource Institute, a conservative advocacy group, for his votes on legislation considered pro-family during the 2007-08 legislative session.

Until the video emerged, Duvall's second term as a member of the California Assembly was progressing much like his first - in relative obscurity, with few notable legislative accomplishments.

He is now a YouTube hit after KCAL-TV aired his racy comments about sexual escapades that were caught by the open microphone in a Capitol hearing room. Several media outlets said the comments referred to Duvall's affairs with two female lobbyists.

On Thursday, Assembly Speaker Karen Bass, D-Los Angeles, removed Miller from the Assembly Ethics Committee, which is investigating Duvall's comments. Shannon Murphy, Bass' spokeswoman, said it would be inappropriate for Miller to remain on the committee while it investigates a matter involving him.

Part of the committee's inquiry will be to determine whether any romantic entanglements Duvall might have had with lobbyists influenced his votes.

One of the lobbyists named in some media reports works for Sempra Energy, which has interests in legislation that has come before the Assembly Utilities and Commerce Committee. Duvall was vice chairman of that committee.

Sempra, a San Diego-based energy services company that operates San Diego Gas & Electric Co. and Southern California Gas Co., said it is performing its own investigation and that its lobbyist has denied the affair.

Before he resigned, Duvall also sat on the Assembly Rules Committee, which oversees the operations of the Legislature. Part of that committee's responsibility is to create sexual harassment guidelines for lawmakers.

California's legislative leaders have been trying to focus on a number high-profile issues - from water policy to prisons to renewable energy - during the waning days of their legislative session. On Wednesday, they instead found themselves answering questions about a lawmaker who bragged about a spanking fetish, the type of underwear worn by a mistress and his apparent ability to carry on two extramarital affairs at once.

Bass, D-Los Angeles, called it "a very sad day."

"We have such big issues before the Legislature and to have this become a distraction, he felt his responsibility was to step aside," she said.

On the videotape, Duvall also describes the woman's "eye-patch underwear" and the age difference between himself and the lobbyist. He tells Miller, a longtime friend, that the woman's birthday was two days earlier.

Duvall said he joked with the woman that she was getting old after turning 36 and told her, "I am going to have to trade you in."

The lawmaker, who has represented part of Orange County since 2006, then brags about an affair he is having with another woman.

"Oh, she is hot! I talked to her yesterday. She goes, 'So are we finished?' I go, 'No, we're not finished.' I go, 'You know about the other one, but she doesn't know about you!'" Duvall can be heard saying in an apparent reference to his affair with the first lobbyist.

Miller, a longtime friend who said he is also close to Duvall's wife, said he does not recall the conversation.

"Mike talks a lot during the hearing," Miller told KCRA-TV in Sacramento. "I was getting ready so I wasn't really hearing what he was saying."

Miller's chief of staff, Brandon Powers, did not return telephone messages from The Associated Press on Thursday.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.

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