Former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford has engaged in a "pattern" of trespassing on his ex-wife's property since their divorce and was even issued a warning about the matter by her attorney two years ago, according to court documents related to the incident.
The Associated Press reported late Tuesday that Sanford, who is currently the Republican nominee for Congress in South Carolina's First District, has been ordered to appear in court on May 9 after his ex-wife Jenny complained that he trespassed on her Sullivan's Island property. Under the terms of their 2010 divorce, neither party can enter the other's home without permission.
Jenny Sanford later confirmed the incident, which occurred on Feb. 3, three weeks after Mark Sanford announced his House campaign. She told CNN that "this is a private matter" and offered no further comment.
Mark Sanford said in a statement Wednesday he was simply watching the Super Bowl with one of his sons, and could not get in touch with Jenny Sanford beforehand.
But a closer examination of the court documents, obtained by CNN on Wednesday, suggests that Mark Sanford has repeatedly entered Jenny Sanford's beachfront home on Sullivan's Island without permission.
Mark Sanford has "entered into a pattern of entering onto Plaintiff's property, both at her former and current residences, without her permission and against her wishes," according to a complaint filed in Charleston County family court on March 21. It asks that Mark Sanford be held in contempt of court.
Jenny Sanford has informed Mark Sanford "on a number of occasions that this behavior is in violation of the court's order, and has demanded that it not occur again," the complaint reads. The document does not include details about previous trespassing accusations.
CNN has also obtained a "formal notice" sent to Mark in Feb. 2011 by Jenny Sanford's attorney, Deena Smith McRackan, warning him not to enter the Sullivan's Island residence without permission.
"This is a formal notice not to trespass on her property," McRackan wrote to the former governor. "(Jenny Sanford) intends to enforce any violation of thus request by resort to either the Family Court in a contempt action or a criminal charge for trespass, or both."
She continued, "I am sorry it has come to this, but Jenny tried to impress upon you the importance of honoring her wishes. She was not successful, so has no choice but to rely on her rights under the law."
McRackan also filed a copy of the trespass letter with the chief of police in Sullivan's Island on April 21, 2011.
A spokesman for Mark Sanford declined to comment on the new details and pointed to the statement issued by the campaign earlier Wednesday.
Sanford's opponent in the congressional race is Democrat Elizabeth Colbert-Busch, the sister of television host Stephen Colbert.
His court date is set for two days after the May 7 special election.