(Columbia) September 28, 2005 - Former gubernatorial spokesman Will Folks has pleaded guilty to criminal domestic violence in a Columbia court.
The 31-year-old Folks was arrested in July and accused of shoving his fiancee, Ashley Smith, into furniture during a heated argument. A week after Folks was arrested, he denied accusations that he shoved her.
Folks received a 30-day suspended sentence, meaning he will avoid jail time as long as he stays out of trouble for the next six months. He also was ordered to attend anger management classes and not to contact his ex-fiance Ashley Smith.
Folks says he hopes his guilty plea shows something about his character. He says he did not want to put his ex-fiancee or her family through a trial that would have exposed private details. He previously had denied the accusations.
Folks has spoken publicly about the case a number of times. But Ashley Smith has remained silent until now, "I think I can understand why victims don't come forward with these kind of things. Because the process, the procedures that are involved with it make it very intimidating and very scary."
Smith and Folks were engaged to be married. "When you love someone, you want to believe the best in them. That was the situation for me," says Smith.
"There are days that it's hard to accept that I'm not getting married, but I know deep down that I did the right thing."
"I know deep down he's sorry what happened. He and I are the only people who know what happened in that room. I know that he is sorry deep down somewhere."
One of the hardest things for Smith to accept is those who want to place the blame on her, "What did she do to provoke him? What was her roll in this? That's very, very hard to accept."
Smith says she believes she's done the right thing, and is ready to move on "It was important for me not to come forward, and I still to this day, don't want to say anything ugly or negative. I just want this to be a situation where we both can move forward, and hopefully it won't have to be in the public eye anymore."
Folks resigned from the governor's office August 1st.
Reported by Kara Gormley with AP