Bizarre videos put Diamond on defensive as Election Day nears
By Andrew Staub | PA Independent
Russ Diamond was just protecting himself — at least that’s how the Pennsylvania state House candidate has described an altercation with an ex-girlfriend that’s the subject of a bizarre video that surfaced this week.
The one-minute video is an edited compilation of several scenes and shows a woman holding up her wrist, which appears to have some dark marks on it.
DIAMOND IN THE ROUGH: A bizarre video has put state House candidate Russ Diamond on the defensive heading into the final stretch of election season.
“I mean look at my freaking wrist,” the woman says, settling the camera on it. “You know, I’m tired of this. I’m tired of being grabbed for no reason.”
Diamond told PA Independent on Monday he did grab the woman’s wrist, but only because she had grabbed his genitalia first. That and other provocations were not shown on the video, which Diamond said was “highly edited,” misleading and recorded without his knowledge or permission.
“If someone grabs you by the penis, what are you going to do? You’re going to grab their wrist and try to get them to stop, and that’s exactly what happened,” Diamond said.
Diamond identified the woman who recorded the video as Catherine Devlin, his former girlfriend. She couldn’t be immediately reached for comment, but Lebanon Daily News reported that Devlin said she made the video and shared it with others, whom she wouldn’t name.
Devlin also asks Diamond why he spit potato chips in her face. Diamond said he has “no clue” what that claim was about and that he didn’t recall all the events depicted in the video.
“I do know that the person was antagonizing me,” Diamond said, adding Devlin wanted to know what it would take for him to hit her, “which of course I would never do,” he said.
While the actions are difficult to see in a dark room and are seen out of full context, Devlin insinuates Diamond is ripping pictures and breaking things. At one point, it sounds as if something glass shatters on the floor.
After Devlin shows her wrist, the video cuts to a shot of a clothed Diamond lying on a bed, with his eyes closed. He says “every cop is a pig and a liar.”
Diamond said that comment was taken out of context and he was merely mimicking a phrase Devlin had used repeatedly in the past. The words “were not my feelings at all,” he said, adding he was grateful local police had helped him get his former girlfriend evicted from his home.
A second, 40-second video shows a longer version of the same scene, in which Devlin tells Diamond he has a “Jekyll and Hyde personality” and she doesn’t want to call police. Diamond says “call ’em” after Devlin suggests he’s lied to police before.
The events happened in the spring of 2013, said Diamond, who said Devlin filed for and later withdrew a petition for a protection-from-abuse order against him.
The longer video was uploaded to YouTube on Oct. 22 by somebody using the name “Not Russ.” It was also included on the website www.therealtruckerruss102.com, a play on his campaign website.
The shorter video was uploaded by someone using the name Frank Castle, the real name of comic-book antihero, The Punisher.
Diamond said videos were sent to media outlets over the summer, but no publicity arose from them.
That changed Monday, after the shorter video hit the news when state Rep. Mauree Gingrich, R-Lebanon, drew attention to it in a press release condemning the comments about police.
“I am the proud daughter, sister and aunt of PA State Troopers,” Gingrich said in a statement. “This disgusting sentiment expressed by Diamond proves that he is unfit to hold any office.”
Gingrich’s admonishment is curious, mostly because she and Diamond are both GOP nominees for different districts.
Diamond is running for the 102nd House District against three other challengers — a Democratic nominee, an independent candidate and a write-in candidate. Gingrich is vying for the 101st state House District.
The two have a political history, though. Diamond lost to Gingrich in the 2008 primary.
Diamond isn’t exactly a party favorite, either, especially after he rose to prominence by leading PA Clean Sweep, an effort to oust incumbent lawmakers after the Legislature voted itself a pay raise in the middle of the night in 2005.
Personal matters, such as the aforementioned PFA, that became public also led the Lebanon County GOP to ask him to vacate the ballot this year. He refused.
Andrew Staub is a reporter for PA Independent and can be reached at Andrew@PAIndependent.com. Follow @PAIndependent on Twitter for more.