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Police report exposes affair between ex-Missouri Speaker, Nixon aide

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John Diehl and Brittany Burke. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

JEFFERSON CITY, MO (KPLR) – Just over a month since resigning his post as Missouri Speaker of the House over sexually explicit text messages with an intern, a police report reveals former State Rep. John Diehl’s affair with a former member of Gov. Jay Nixon’s staff, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

Brittany Burke, 31, contacted Jefferson City police on the morning of April 9 from a room at the DoubleTree hotel, saying she’d blacked out the night before after heavy drinking and wanted to know if she’d been sexually assaulted. She had injured her wrist somehow, and her clothes had both mud and blood on them. Burke was then taken to the University of Missouri Hospital in Columbia, where evidence was collected for a rape kit.

The Post-Dispatch compiled a timeline of Burke’s evening based on the police report, culminating with Diehl discovering her at the back door to his Jefferson City apartment at 3:15 a.m. She finally left Diehl’s residence at 5:15 a.m. on her own.

Burke was not making allegations against the former speaker, but needed police to help her account for a block of time between 9 p.m. April 8 and 1 a.m. the following morning.

Burke left state government in July 2014 and now runs her own PR firm in St. Louis, the Post-Dispatch reported. She last spoke with Jefferson City police in April. Police have since closed the case due to lack of cooperation and no evidence of a crime having taken place. The rape kit was never tested, at Burke’s request.

However, as a result of the investigation, police learned of the affair between Burke and Diehl, 49. Burke worked as Gov. Nixon’s deputy press secretary from November 2012 to January 2014 before being promoted to a position lobbying on behalf of the governor’s agenda. Diehl admitted to the affair when being interviewed by police, but said the two did not have sex when she showed up unannounced at his apartment.

Diehl stepped down May 15, the last day of the legislative session, after admitting to exchanging inappropriate texts with a 19-year-old college freshman from Joplin who was working at the Capitol as an intern. Rep. Todd Richardson of Poplar Bluff was chosen to succeed Diehl as House Speaker that same day. In the meantime, the state legislature is reviewing its intern policy.

Diehl told the Post-Dispatch he had not seen the police report and declined to answer questions about the nature of his relationship with Burke.