weather icon Clear

Horsford admits to extramarital affair after podcaster discloses relationship

Nevada Rep. Steven Horsford on Friday acknowledged that he’d carried on a long-standing affair with a former intern for Sen. Harry Reid who has detailed the relationship in a series of podcast episodes and on Twitter.

The woman, Gabriela Linder, told the Review-Journal that she is “Love Jones,” the pseudonym of a person who first began sharing her story through a public podcast, “Mistress for Congress,” in April. The podcast and a related Twitter account have relayed what she claims are various details of the affair, including a purported screenshot of a message exchanged between Horsford, a Democrat, and Linder in 2018.

She agreed to an interview with the Review-Journal on Friday. She said Horsford offered her financial support, introduced her to political connections and filmed a segment for her young son’s YouTube show using his congressional staff.

Reached for comment on Linder’s allegations on Friday evening, Horsford provided this statement:

“It is true that I had a previous relationship outside of my marriage, over the course of several years. I’m deeply sorry to all of those who have been impacted by this very poor decision, most importantly my wife and family. Out of concern for my family during this challenging time, I ask that our privacy is respected.”

Linder said the affair began in 2009, when she met Horsford, then the majority leader of the Nevada state Senate, during her time as an intern in former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s Nevada office. She claims that she met Horsford at an event then later arranged to meet him through a friend.

They had a sexual relationship that continued intermittently until September 2019, Linder said, though the two remained in contact until April. Linder never worked for Horsford in any capacity.

On April 1, Horsford appeared on a children’s YouTube show hosted by Linder’s young son. Linder asked Horsford to appear by calling him on a personal phone and not through his office, she said.

Linder says on her podcast that she had her son while in another relationship when she was attending law school at the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis during a period when she and Horsford were not seeing each other.

The video shows Horsford speaking broadly about politicians and their role during the COVID-19 pandemic in what appears to be his Washington, D.C., congressional office. Linder said his staff shot the video with him and sent it to her.

Linder and Horsford stopped speaking shortly after the appearance, she said.

Off-and-on relationship

In total, she said, their sexual relationship took place between 2009 and 2010 and between 2017 and 2019, though they remained in regular contact for the entire decade.

Linder stressed that she was not seeking to damage Horsford during an election year but rather sees her podcast as “an empowering journey” as she moves on from the relationship. She said she was not paid any money to produce it, nor was she asked or contacted by any candidate in Horsford’s 4th District race. She said she was writing a book about her experience.

Linder does, however, believe that Horsford should end his bid for re-election.

“If this was a story in 2018 (when Horsford recaptured the seat he lost in 2014), he wouldn’t have run,” Linder said. “He obtained this position under false pretenses that he was a family man and man of God. He should take a step back, atone, and if people are satisfied, then he can come back into politics.”

Horsford represented the 4th District from 2013 to 2014, when he lost his re-election bid to Republican Cresent Hardy. He won the seat back in 2018 after then-Rep. Ruben Kihuen decided not to seek re-election because of sexual harassment allegations.

Horsford has been married since 2000 and has three children.

Ending the relationship

Linder also claimed that she broke off her relationship with Horsford, who she said had discussed leaving his wife for her but could not do so during the 2020 election season.

“I decided I can’t wait, deserved more and didn’t want to be that person anymore,” she said. “And I realized someone who could lie that way is not someone who would be honorable to me.”

During the third episode of her podcast, Linder said Horsford “looked out for her over the years, from anything from a job recommendation to financial support.”

In her interview with the Review-Journal, Linder declined to elaborate on this support. As an attorney, she said, she worried that saying anything further could get her caught up in divorce proceedings should Horsford’s marriage be dissolved. State bar records show that no one with her name is licensed to practice law in Nevada.

Reached for comment Friday night, a Horsford aide said Linder “never received any compensation from the congressman or from the campaign over the course of their private relationship.”

“This was a private relationship of the congressman’s, and this was in no way related to his public office,” the aide said.

Linder said that as far as she knew, Horsford never used campaign funds or money from his state Senate or congressional accounts to purchase anything for her.

‘Loyal to a fault’

Linder, who was a 21-year-old senior at UNLV when the relationship began, said she now realizes that Horsford, who was 36 at the time and is now 47, used his status as an older, powerful man to take advantage of her and control her. He never explicitly asked her not to tell anyone, she said.

“He knew how in love with him I was, and he knew what he could do and get away with,” she said. “He knows I would support him. He never told me to keep quiet. He didn’t have to. He knew I was loyal to a fault.”

She said she now has “disdain” for men in politics who fail to support women. She hopes her story will serve as a cautionary tale to women who participate in or even seek out similar relationships with older, powerful men.

Linder said she recently reached out to Horsford through her publicist to have him appear on her podcast. She told the Review-Journal she has an email on her personal account purportedly from Horsford that pointed her to a Washington, D.C., attorney, Howard Schiffman.

She said that Horsford told her he thought they were resolving the situation amicably and that failing to do so would be damaging to everyone.

Linder plans to release a new podcast episode Sunday.

Contact Rory Appleton at rappleton@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0276. Follow @RoryDoesPhonics on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Politics Videos
Nevada gyms, bars that do not serve food can reopen Friday - VIDEO
Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak on Tuesday evening said Phase 2 of the state’s Nevada United: Roadmap to Recovery will begin on Friday. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nevada Rep. Horsford admits to having affair - VIDEO
Nevada Congressman Steven Horsford admitted to having an affair with Gabriela Linder, a former intern for Sen. Harry Reid. Linder detailed her account of the affair in a podcast she called, "Mistress for Congress." (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Sisolak says businesses will begin reopening under phase 1 - VIDEO
The first phase of reopening Nevada’s businesses will begin Saturday, May 9, Gov. Steve Sisolak said Thursday. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Joe Biden denies Tara Reade's sexual assault allegation - VIDEO
The former senate aide claims Biden assaulted her in 1993 when he was a senator. Biden first denied the accusations via a public post on Medium. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
RJ interview with Sisolak on the reopening plan for Nevada - VIDEO
The Las Vegas Review-Journal interviewed Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak on the plan for reopening Nevada during the coronavirus pandemic. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Sisolak reacts to Goodman CNN interview- VIDEO
Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman repeated her call to immediately reopen businesses during an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Wednesday, leading to a reaction from Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Sisolak praises Nevadans for staying at home, saving lives - VIDEO
Gov. Steve Sisolak said Thursday it’s still too early to know when the state’s COVID-19 shutdown orders could be lifted or when businesses could start to reopen their doors. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Trump gives governors 3-phase approach to open US - VIDEO
President Donald Trump declared victory in America’s war against the “invisible enemy” as the president’s Coronavirus Task Force released “Opening up America Again” guidelines. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Trump names Jacky Rosen to task force on reopening economy - VIDEO
President Donald Trump named Sen. Jacky Rosen, D-Nev., to be a member of his Opening Up America Again Congressional Group Thursday to advise him on coronavirus policy. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bernie Sanders endorses Joe Biden for president - VIDEO
On April 13, former presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders announced his official endorsement of former Vice President Joe Biden. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bernie Sanders drops out of 2020 Democratic race for president - VIDEO
Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont officially announced an end to his 2020 presidential bid on Wednesday. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Democratic National Convention postponed - VIDEO
The Democratic National Convention was set to take place over four days in the middle of July. Democratic officials have now confirmed the convention will take place the week of Aug. 17. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Henderson allows immediate sale of alcohol with curbside pickup - VIDEO
The city of Henderson decided Thursday evening to allow alcohol to be sold by restaurants as part of their curbside pickup service during the COVID-19 crisis. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Sisolak signs order banning any gathering of 10 or more people - VIDEO
Gov. Steve Sisolak on Tuesday signed a new order banning any gathering of 10 or more people in Nevada in another step the state has taken to slow the spread of the new coronavirus. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Takeaways from the president's daily briefing on coronavirus - VIDEO
RJ Washington correspondent Debra Saunders talks about today's daily White House news conference regarding the coronavirus outbreak, Friday, March 20, 2020. (Renee Summerour/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Judicial Department 5 Debate - Video
The Las Vegas Review-Journal hosts a debate between the 3 candidates running for Department 5 in Clark County District Court. Participating are Veronica M. Barisich, Terry A. Coffing and Blair Cowan Parker.
Trump cancels Las Vegas trip because of ‘coronavirus outbreak’ - VIDEO
President Donald Trump canceled planned travel to Las Vegas ‘out of an abundance of caution’ amid virus outbreak. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Trump signs $8.3 billion coronavirus package - VIDEO
President Trump signed a bill providing $8.3 billion in emergency funding to combat the coronavirus outbreaK, Friday, March 6, 2020. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nevada will expand testing, tracing with federal money

Nevada will commit roughly $221 million in mostly federal money through 2021 to rebuilding state protective equipment stockpiles, expanding COVID-19 testing and contact tracing, and preparing a mass vaccination program.