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State Rep. Tara Mack "changed her tune" on alleged make-out bust, says sheriff

From "divine intervention" to calling a deputy sheriff a liar.

From "divine intervention" to calling a deputy sheriff a liar.

It might still be two lawmakers’ word against law enforcement’s. But new information shows state Rep. Tara Mack did a 180-degree turn in the days after she was allegedly caught with her pants down in a colleague’s car.

An email obtained by the Associated Press indicates the Republican from Apple Valley “changed her tune” after details from a reportedly amorous encounter with Rep. Tim Kelly, R-Red Wing, in an Eagan park. On Aug. 25, the legislators were slapped with nuisance tickets after a deputy sheriff caught the two “making out” in a parked car. According to the ranger’s notes, Mack’s pants were “unzipped and down.”

When the story broke both legislators, who are married to other people, vehemently denied the accusations, saying the ranger lied in his report.

The email, which Dakota County Sheriff Tim Leslie sent to himself, recapped conversations with Mack suggesting she wasn’t always so appalled. At first, Mack “said she was glad the deputy came along to save her from an uncomfortable situation,” according to Leslie’s account.

“She referred to it as divine intervention,” he wrote of his first call with Mack.

Mack purportedly also asked about “what was public and how this could play out.” Two days after the incident, she apparently learned from a lobbyist that something was lurking in the ranger’s notes. According to his email, Leslie told her they stated her trousers were at half-staff.

“She did not comment other than to say this is very salacious and that she is married to a minister and her career could be ruined,” Leslie reportedly wrote. “I said I understood that but if you are choosing to say that the park ranger lied … I have a big problem.”

Mack also asked if the ranger was sporting a body camera, which he wasn’t, Leslie replied. Neither Mack nor Leslie immediately returned calls seeking comment.

When the incident became public, Mack and Kelly issued statements saying they planned to file complaints. However in a follow-up statement last week, Mack said she wouldn’t file one after all, the AP reports. Both lawmakers have paid their $260 fines.