JEFFERSON CITY, MO (KTVI) - The internship program for Missouri Southern State University abruptly shut down at the state Capitol last month. Text messages obtained by the Kansas City Star may reveal the reason why. Flirty conversations between a college freshman and House Speaker John Diehl may have been captured in screenshots from the intern's phone.
The text messages show efforts by Diehl and the intern to meet in person. They range from discussions about meetings and speeches to sexually suggestive interchanges.
Screenshots of the text messages show Diehl's business cellphone number. The images appear to have been taken From the intern's smartphone. She listed the contact in her phone as, "Frank Underwood." A reference to Netflix's House of Cards TV series where a public official and an intern have a steamy relationship. The messages also include photographs of the of Diehl and the intern.
The intern's attorney tells the Kansas City Star that the messages are not real.
Missouri Southern State University ended their Capitol internship program more than a month prematurely. Interns live Jefferson City and work 35 hours a week for lawmakers. The school tells the Kansas City Star that there has been no decision about university’s legislative intern program for the next school year.
House Speaker John Diehl has released this statement:
“I take full responsibility for my actions and am truly sorry to those I let down. I apologize for the poor judgment I displayed that put me and those closest to me in this situation. I also regret that the woman has been dragged into this situation. The buck stops here. I ask for forgiveness. I will begin immediately working to restore the trust of those closest to me, and getting back to the important work that is required in the final days of session.”
See all of the text messages here: