Gov. Quinn said Thursday that if his running-mate, Scott Lee Cohen, cannot adequately explain the charges against him — that he held a knife to the throat of a prostitute ex-girlfriend — then "he should step aside" as the Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor.
Quinn said he met with Illinois Democratic Chairman Mike Madigan Thursday morning and the Cohen situation was an issue they discussed.
But Quinn declined to say whether he or Madigan are forming any contingency plan in case Cohen won’t voluntarily step aside. "Let’s take a look at how the situation evolves, I think there will be a resolution," Quinn said.
The newly minted Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor said Wednesday he doesn’t think a 2005 domestic battery arrest should hurt him in the fall general election, although records in the case raise questions about his version of events.
Scott Lee Cohen, a pawnbroker who was the surprise winner in the little-publicized contest among half a dozen candidates, had previously disclosed the arrest. He described it Wednesday as an argument with his drunken girlfriend and said he didn’t lay a hand on her, though she called the police and had him taken into custody.
But the official police and court records show that the woman alleged Cohen put a knife to her throat and pushed her head against the wall.
In their October 14 arrest report detailing the complaint from the 24-year-old woman, Chicago police noted they observed “mild abrasions from knife wound” on her neck. They also noted “minor scars on her hand from her trying to defend herself against the arrestee swinging the knife at her.” The report notes the woman was seen by ambulance personnel but not taken to a hospital.
The case was dropped a month later when the woman did not show up for a court date.
Also, public records show that the alleged victim, Scott’s 24-year-old girlfriend at the time, was a prostitute. Six months before the October 2005 incident, she had been arrested after a police investigation of a Glenview massage parlor. She later pleaded guilty to a charge of prostitution.
Through a spokesman Cohen said he did not know at the time that the woman was a prostitute and that she had told him she worked as a “massage therapist.”
According to the Sun-Times, when asked if he would consider running as a third-party or independent candidate if Cohen will not pull out, Quinn just repeated that he thought "the situation will resolve itself."