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Trump-backed Senate candidate loses custody battle in court


HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — The candidate endorsed by former President Donald Trump for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania lost a court fight over custody of his three children Monday, two weeks after he took the stand to deny allegations by his estranged wife that he had hurt her and the children.

The decision by a judge in Butler County could affect Sean Parnell’s candidacy in a battleground state that could help determine control of the U.S. Senate in next year’s election.

The judge, James Arner, wrote in a docket entry Monday that Parnell’s estranged wife, Laurie Snell, will have sole legal custody of the school-age children, as well as primary physical custody. Parnell will have physical custody on three weekends per month, Arner wrote.

Snell was “the more credible witness,” Arner wrote.

Snell’s lawyer, Jen Gilliland Vanasdale, said Snell “is grateful that justice prevailed.” Parnell’s campaign had no immediate comment.

Testifying under oath on Nov. 8, Parnell denied Snell’s allegations, saying he had never choked her or pinned her down, and never struck one of their children in a fit of rage.

Snell and Parnell have been living apart for at least three years, but have split custody of their children evenly.

Parnell’s history with his wife became a subject in the Republican primary campaign, days after Trump endorsed Parnell over several other rivals.

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Follow Marc Levy on Twitter at https://twitter.com/timelywriter.






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