Governor's Divorce On Hold

Lawyers for Gov. Jim Gibbons and first lady Dawn Gibbons, who has accused her husband of having an affair, said Monday the couple's divorce action filed by the governor is on hold pending "an attempt to resolve issues" in the case.

Cal Dunlap, Dawn Gibbons' lawyer, and Gary Silverman, the governor's attorney, also said Dawn Gibbons will move out of the Governor's Mansion and into a guest house on the mansion grounds in Carson City. The governor, who has been staying at the couple's home in Reno, will move back into the mansion.

The seemingly awkward arrangement had been suggested by Dawn

Gibbons so that she could continue her duties as first lady. The governor, in filing for divorce May 2, had asked for a court order to oust her from the taxpayer-supported mansion.

The 1-page statement from the attorneys didn't elaborate on the issue-resolving effort - such as whether it dealt with negotiating divorce terms or with a possible reconciliation. There was no word on how long the litigation suspension would last.

Under the agreement, the lawyers said no more court documents will be filed in the divorce case, in Washoe County Family Court in Reno; and "there will be no further public comment from either side while the parties attempt to resolve issues related to the divorce action."

"The governor and the first lady will share the public areas of the mansion for their respective public duties with their respective staff coordinating the scheduling with each other," the statement adds.

The surprise development followed Dawn Gibbons' claim in late May that Gibbons, 63, was having an affair with a woman separated from her husband, a Reno doctor. Gibbons denied the allegation, saying it was just "a friendly relationship over all these years."

Dunlap said in a motion filed May 28 in Family Court on behalf of Dawn Gibbons, 54, that the governor wanted to end his marriage of nearly 22 years because of "his infatuation and involvement" with someone else.

The attorney's comments were included in a motion challenging a judge's decision to seal the divorce case. Dunlap said the law cited by the judge in sealing the files violates both the U.S. Constitution and the Nevada Constitution.

In filing for a divorce, Gibbons listed incompatibility as grounds for ending the marriage. Dawn Gibbons then demanded detailed explanation from Gibbons on why he feels they're incompatible.

Dawn Gibbons, asked about the divorce at a May 29 news event, said she saw herself as a role model for other middle-waged women going through divorce. She said, "I need to be strong not only for myself but for others."

The divorce case is the latest in a series of difficulties for the epublican governor. Gibbons, halfway through his first four-year term, has said he'll seek a second term in 2010 - although some supporters had expressed concern about potential political damage due to his bid to end the marriage.

Gibbons also faces a still-pending corruption investigation by the FBI. Just before his 2006 election, he faced claims by a Las Vegas cocktail waitress that he assaulted her in a parking garage after she rebuffed his advances.

Police last year said they found insufficient evidence to support the claim. Throughout the furor over the allegations, Dawn Gibbons stood by her husband and resolutely defended him.