Cohen Admits Steroid Use

But vows he never "flew into a rage" or hit his family

By Dick Johnson and Steve Bryant
|  Thursday, Feb 4, 2010  |  Updated 8:37 PM CDT
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WATCH: Cohen's Admission

Democratic candidate for Lt. Gov. Scott Lee Cohen admits discusses his steroid use.
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Lt. Gov. nominee Scott Lee Cohen admitted Thursday that he once used injectable anabolic steroids, but denies he ever "flew into a rage" or attacked his family -- and continues to refuse to step down.

"I did, for a short time in my life," Cohen said, regarding his steroid use. "I never went into a rage...I never ever touched anyone in my family, ever."

Cohen continued to reject calls to step aside, and suggested the matter could be resolved via a sit-down with Quinn.

"I don't understand what the big whirlwind is about now," said Cohen. "I was never convicted of anything. I had the choice to expunge my record. I chose not to do that...we will win this election in November."

Cohen's admission comes after documents from his 2005 divorce revealed he'd been ordered by Cook County Circuit Court to undergo steroid testing.

A Chicago Sun-Times report Thursday morning also revealed that Cohen had allegedly threatened a former girlfriend, a prostitute, with a deadly weapon.

After that news, but before the admission of steroid use, Gov. Pat Quinn asked Cohen to step aside as the Democratic nominee, but Cohen refused.

"When grave matters are raised about a nominee, if you don't answer satisfactorily then you have to step aside -- and that's how I think this will go," Quinn said at an afternoon press conference. "I think it will happen. Stakes are high."

Quinn said he wants a law changed so that he has ability to pick his own running mate replace Cohen, though he wouldn't speculate on a replacement.

In response to Quinn's request, Cohen said he wasn't going anywhere.

“I have no intention of stepping down or stepping aside," Cohen said in an e-mailed statement. "When the facts come to light, after my ex-wife and ex-girlfriend speak, the people of Illinois can decide, and I will listen to them directly."

In comments Thursday, Cohen's ex-wife, Debra York-Cohen, confirmed her allegations from 2005.

"It was a short period of time," she said, "and it's certainly not something that the people of Illinois need to be concerned with."

York-Cohen's word five years ago were substantially different.

"Over the past year my husband has been taking injectable anabolic steroids," York-Cohen alleged in her divorce documents. "As a result he has an erratic and explosive temper."

The documents also allege that Cohen's steroid use contributed to periodic episodes of violence against his family.

"On or about May 1st 2005, Scott came home in a fit of rage," reads the statement. "Scott began swearing and cussing and an altercation began to ensue between Scott and our son.  During this altercation the other kids were upstairs hysterically crying."

Republicans were mostly silent on the issue until a late-day statement Illinois Republican Party Chair Pat Brady:

"Apparently the leadership of the Democratic Party allowed an alleged domestic abuser to be on the ballot in their primary, a fact reported in the media almost one year ago," Brady said.  "The people of Illinois should not be surprised by the events of today, as this is the same party leadership that vetted Rod Blagojevich's candidacy in 2006."

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