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Jordan denies knowing of alleged Ohio State abuse, calls timing of claims 'suspect'

Jordan denies knowing of alleged Ohio State abuse, calls timing of claims 'suspect'
© Greg Nash

Rep. Jim JordanJames (Jim) Daniel JordanRepublicans should prepare for Nancy Pelosi to wield the gavel House Judiciary chairman threatens to subpoena Rosenstein Poll: Republicans narrowly prefer Jordan to lead House GOP MORE (R-Ohio) on Friday vehemently denied claims that he knew of alleged sexual abuse taking place on the Ohio State University wrestling team while he served as assistant coach, while calling into question the timing of the allegations.

Jordan said on Fox News' “Special Report with Bret Baier” that the timing of the allegations was "suspect" after his widely publicized hearing with Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod Jay RosensteinRosenstein says Mueller probe is 'appropriate and independent' The Hill's 12:30 Report — Trump requests Turkey's evidence on missing journalist | Takeaways from Texas Senate debate | Key Mueller findings could be ready after midterms Mueller to present key findings related to Russia probe after midterms: report MORE and his bid to become the next House Speaker.

Jordan, a leader of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, said that allegations he knew of the abuse are “false,” adding he didn’t know why the former student wrestlers would make such claims.

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At least five former student wrestlers have come forward to say that Jordan must have been aware of the alleged abuse, and that it was discussed in the locker room.

Politico reported shortly before Jordan’s appearance Friday night that six of the former wrestlers had spoken to the publication about the alleged abuse.

“Conversations in a locker room are a lot different than allegations of abuse or reported abuse,” Jordan said Friday, adding that “no one ever reported any abuse to me.”

Jordan said that if he had heard of the alleged abuse, he would have investigated it, adding that “if in fact there were victims, they deserve justice.”

“Our coaching staff, we would've dealt with this,” Jordan said. “These were our student athletes. A good coach puts the interest of his student athletes first.”

Jordan denied knowing of the sexual abuse allegations when they emerged earlier this week, and President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump renews attacks against Tester over VA nominee on eve of Montana rally Trump submits 2017 federal income tax returns Corker: Trump administration 'clamped down' on Saudi intel, canceled briefing MORE said Thursday that he "100 percent" believes Jordan.

The Ohio congressman, who has long been an attack dog on the right, went after two of the wrestlers who initially came forward with the accusations that Jordan had turned a blind eye to the alleged abuse.

The GOP lawmaker said one of the wrestlers, Mike DiSabato, has a criminal past and had a “vendetta” against both the school and Jordan’s family. Jordan slammed CNN for putting him on television multiple times in one day.

DiSabato has a long history of litigation, including a 2007 suit against OSU over a merchandising dispute, according to the university’s student newspaper.

And Dunyasha Yetts, another accuser and former wrestling champion, admitted he spent 18 months in prison for bilking investors out of nearly $2 million.

“I know they know the truth,” Jordan said. “It’s just not accurate.”

Baier pushed back, noting that there are now five accusers who claim Jordan knew about the alleged abuse, but the lawmaker continued to deny the accusations.

“Not true,” Jordan said.

Jordan also took a swing at Perkins Coie LLP, which was tapped to conduct an independent investigation and claims it contacted Jordan’s office by both phone and email to set up an interview but did not get a reply. Jordan said the firm was sending messages to a nonexistent email address.

“The same law firm that can find an expert spy to put together a dossier to go after President Trump can’t find a congressman’s email address? Can’t get a hold of me?” Jordan said. “That is just complete bogus.”

The usually composed Jordan, who is a fixture on cable news, started to get choked up toward the end of the interview. He noted that his son got married last weekend and that his nephew – also a college wrestler – died in a car wreck on Thursday evening.

“It’s been the toughest week. It’s been tough for our family,” said Jordan, who took several pauses and struggled to find his words at times. “There’s been lots of things, people have to go through tough things. But it’s just been an emotional week.”

“This is wrong,” he added. “This is just wrong.”