I-Team: Governor Jim Gibbons Under Oath - 8 News NOW

Chief Investigative Reporter George Knapp and Photojournalist Matt Adams

I-Team: Governor Jim Gibbons Under Oath

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LAS VEGAS -- Nevada Governor Jim Gibbons says he's never taken bribes or kickbacks, nor has he ever fooled around on his wife.

Gibbons had to answer questions of an extremely personal nature in a deposition taken earlier this month.

He was questioned by the lawyer for a Las Vegas woman who alleges that Gibbons groped and assaulted her in a parking garage after a night of drinking.

Mr. Gibbons finds himself stuck between a legal rock and a hard place, with a federal civil suit on one side and a lengthy divorce battle on the other. The governor has plenty of weighty matters on his plate in Carson City, but can't get beyond his legal troubles.

Read the entire deposition from the governor

Attorneys in both of those proceedings have questioned whether Gibbons is a philanderer and womanizer. The questions that have been raised in both cases have focused on intensely personal matters that have spilled out into the governor's public life.

In October 2006, then-gubernatorial candidate Jim Gibbons appeared at a news conference, accompanied by his wife Dawn, and told reporters he was a happily married man. The event was held so that Gibbons could respond to allegations that he had groped and assaulted cocktail waitress Chrissy Mazzeo after hours of drinking at a Las Vegas restaurant.

Criminal charges were never pursued and Gibbons was elected governor days after the news conference. But Mazzeo's civil suit in federal court is still alive.

Mazzeo and her attorney Bob Kossack think the governor is lying, not only about events on the night in question but about his personal life.

On February 5, 2010, Gibbons was questioned, under oath, for four hours and presented, in Kossack's opinion, conflicting versions of events, including the status of his marriage.

In his sworn deposition, Gibbons was asked if he was, in fact, a happily married man in 2006 and answered yes. But elsewhere in the testimony, Gibbons told Kossack his marriage to Dawn was "strained."

When asked about his sex life, Gibbons said there had been no intimacy with his wife or any other woman since 1995, adding the comment, "I'm living proof that you can survive without sex for that long."

Gibbons testified that he had never been unfaithful to his wife and specifically denied having sexual relations with two women linked to him in media accounts -- Leslie Sferraza Durant, the ex-Playboy model who accompanied Gibbons to a Reno rodeo and has been seen with him at various restaurants and Kathy Karrasch, the married woman who exchanged hundreds of late night text messages with Gibbons.

Both Karrasch and Durant say their friendships with Gibbons has been platonic.

Las Vegan Wendy Mazaros says she has first-hand knowledge of Gibbons' romance with Leslie Durant. Mazaros gave her own sworn deposition in Gibbons' divorce case and says she was a roommate with Leslie in the 90's and that Leslie expected to one day marry Gibbons.

"She was very much in love with him," she said.

Under oath, Mazaros also said she accompanied Leslie on several out of state trips and believes Leslie picked up packets of cash from businessmen for delivery to Gibbons, who was not in office during that time period.

In his deposition, Gibbons emphatically denied ever accepting any sort of bribe or kickback, denied ever residing in a Reno apartment, which Mazaros referred to as the "love condo", or visiting a condo in San Diego, and denied ever accepting any cash payment at a Reno restaurant.

Mazzeo's lawyer Bob Kossack declined to be interviewed on-camera, but says the governor's deposition is not consistent with statements he originally made to the police and media.

During the deposition, Kossack showed Gibbons photos of Mazzeo taken on the night of the alleged incident. Gibbons said he did not recognize her.

When asked whether he had been flirty or had told any raunchy jokes while having cocktails with Mazzeo and others, Gibbons said he wasn't a good joke teller and said he did not know the meaning of the term "double entendre."

He denied playing footsie with Mazzeo under the table because, he said, he was wearing cowboy boots

Kossack says he has other witnesses who under oath said there was flirtatious behavior and that Gibbons had his arms all over Mazzeo once the two were outside.

Gibbons says the only time he touched Mazzeo was when she stumbled as he helped her find her vehicle.

He told police Mazzeo abruptly walked away from him without explanation and that he went directly to his room. In the deposition though, he told a longer story about losing his room key, which may account for a discrepancy based on the exact time he got to his room.

Gibbons attorney Pat Lundvall says her client did a "terrific job" during the deposition. She says he was open, honest and answered all the questions, even in the afternoon session when the lawyers were joined by Chrissy Mazzeo.

Attorney Bob Kossack says he has not yet decided whether to seek depositions from Leslie Durant and Kathy Karrasch.

The governor's deposition, which filled nearly 200 pages when transcribed, provides a candid glimpse into other aspects of his life, including his employment history and education.

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