Television Paternity Test Reveals Come to Capitol Hill

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Having the results of a paternity test revealed on television is never a particularly distinguished affair. But for Rep. Steve Cohen of Tennessee, the news was probably particularly humiliating. The blonde model with whom he was tweeting during the State of the Union is not, as he apparently believed, his daughter.

Cohen revealed his relationship with Victoria Brink after a weird incident during this year's State of the Union Address. Cohen sent (and then deleted) several tweets to Brink, ending each with "ilu," short for "I love you." Thinking only of Weiner, people assumed that Cohen had inadvertently sent a private message publicly. Then Cohen revealed the truth: Brink was his daughter, the result of a dalliance with her mother several decades previously. This came as a surprise to the world at large—but especially to John Brink, the Texas businessman who raised Victoria as his daughter for her entire life.

Or so he thought. Montel Williams presumably being busy, CNN did the honors of (rather belatedly) testing Cohen's claim. The network's Miguel Marquez hauled Victoria and John Brink into a DNA clinic for tests.

In the full report, the testing begins at the 2:20 mark. Cohen also provided a DNA sample, but understandably declined to participate in the reveal. And so:

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Victoria Brink's father is not Cohen. It is, instead … John Brink.

There's no suggestion that Cohen (and for that matter Victoria Brink) made up the story about him believing her to be his daughter. In a statement to CNN, the congressman said that he was "stunned and dismayed." Granted, Cohen subsequently demonstrated that he wasn't above tweeting his appreciation for other women he found attractive. But in this case, it appears Cohen really did believe that the recipient of his "ilu"s was his daughter.

Marquez interviewed the Brinks both before and after the test results came in. John understandably seemed relieved. Victoria seemed bewildered. But she kept her composure enough to offer a bit of advice to others who might be in her situation.

"Is there a lesson out of all of this for you?," Marquez asked. Brink responded: "Maybe do a DNA test first?"

Update, 2:45 p.m.: Cohen is not handling this well.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.