HONESDALE, Pa. — A judge dismissed a temporary protective order against a candidate for Pennsylvania lieutenant governor on Friday after his attorneys attacked the motivation and credibility of the candidate's wife, who had testified he was verbally abusive and made threats.
Teddy Daniels claimed vindication after the ruling by President Judge Janine Edwards, telling reporters outside the Wayne County Courthouse, "Justice was served today in a court of law. I'm going to go see my son."
Daniels, 47, is one of nine candidates seeking the GOP nomination in the state's May 17 primary, running with the endorsement of a leading candidate for governor, Republican state Sen. Doug Mastriano.
Daniels' wife, who had obtained a temporary protection-from-abuse order against Teddy Daniels last week, testified that Daniels was incensed because he believed her family was cooperating in an unflattering magazine story about him. He threatened to "put a bullet" in the head of one of the people he blamed, the woman testified. She said Daniels then told her: "And if I find out you're in on it, you're going down too."
Daniels' lawyers pointed out the woman had not previously reported the alleged threat, either to police or in her application for a protective order. In court, they suggested she only sought the protective order because Daniels had threatened to leave her.
Daniels himself did not testify and did not call any witnesses.
"Our case was proven by cross-examination of a witness who lied," Daniels' lawyer, Jen Gilliland Vanasdale, told reporters. "Obviously the court believed that, or the court would not have dismissed and denied the protection from abuse."
Neither Daniels' wife nor her lawyer had any immediate comment after the court hearing.
Daniels, who is running for the GOP nomination in this month's primary, had been ordered to stay away from his home and forbidden from having any contact with his wife. The temporary order had also given Daniels' wife temporary custody of their child and forced Daniels to turn over his guns.
In a handwritten petition, the wife told a judge that Daniels, who is 6-foot-4 and 360 pounds is "always angry at me" and "continuously" curses at her, threatening to kick her and their son out of the house if he loses the campaign. The woman said he stalked her at work, "screaming at me, making me cry" and that his anger toward her has caused her to have panic attacks.
Last August, she said, Daniels grabbed her shirt, pulled her to his face and said, "Don't you ever speak to me like that," the petition said. He also threatened to kill the family dog and has made two previous attempts to take his own life, his wife said.
Daniels had claimed the allegations were unfounded and that he was the target of "political terrorism" meant to damage his campaign.
He said he was "swatted," or targeted with bogus calls leading police to his home. Without offering evidence, he accused Rolling Stone magazine, which first published word of the April 26 protection-from-abuse order, of being "closely involved with a series of phone calls made to police from out-of-state in which false police reports were made against me at my home." Rolling Stone has said it stands by its story.
Gilliland Vanasdale, Daniels' lawyer, said Friday an investigation is underway, declaring: "The people and players who were behind this political hit job and character assassination of Ted Daniels will have justice coming on another day. Today, we're celebrating the big victory for Mr. Daniels and that the justice system works."
With the primary election, in less than two weeks, Daniels believes this was a politically motivated attempt to destroy his campaign for lieutenant governor.
"For ten days, you had people like other candidates, other governor candidates, (saying) 'Doug Mastriano should separate himself.' 'Oh, Teddy's dropped out of the race.' We have a constitution and every single person who said that should never hold office in this country," Daniels added.
See local Verify stories on WNEP’s YouTube channel.