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VOL. 128 | NO. 142 | Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Cohen Addresses Paternity Test on MSNBC

By Bill Dries

Print | Front Page | Email this story | Email reporter | Comments ()

U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen of Memphis told a national television audience Monday, July 22, that he wants to “get back to doing important work.”

Cohen made the comment during a live interview on the MSNBC program “Morning Joe,” in which he talked more about the DNA tests results showing he is not the father of Victoria Brink, the woman Cohen said earlier this year was his daughter.

The interview was the first chronology the Memphis Democrat has offered of the personal story that became a national one when Cohen tweeted Brink during the State of the Union address in February.

U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Memphis, discussed his recent paternity test on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" Monday, July 22.

(Daily News File Photo/Lance Murphey)

He said Brink’s mother, Cynthia White Sinatra, told him in 2010 that he was Brink’s father and that she had told her daughter a year earlier.

Cohen said the only other person outside of the three to know was entertainer Frank Sinatra Jr., her former husband.

“And she told him in case she passed first, that he would know if Victoria needed any body parts who would be right,” Cohen said. “She, I think, thinks I’m the father now.”

When the story broke this past February, Cohen said John Brink, who it turned out is Victoria Brink’s biological father, wanted the DNA testing. The first test showed John Brink was the father.

“Then the mother didn’t believe the test nor did the daughter. So they asked me to do another test. I did the test for her,” Cohen said of Victoria Brink. “I had no thought it would come back anything but that I would be the father.”

The second test results confirmed again that John Brink is the father and those results were the CNN story that aired last week.

Program host Mika Brzezinski said Cohen helped to make it more of a story with tweets.

“This is a personal tragedy that should be allowed for me and Victoria to deal with independently.”

–U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen

“Keep it off Twitter, we won’t cover it,” she told Cohen.

“The press has made this a story. This is a personal tragedy that should be allowed for me and Victoria to deal with independently,” Cohen replied. “She’s hiding out in Houston. She’s hated it. … I’m tired of it.”

Several times during the interview, Cohen also dropped in comments on legislation he is working on as he put together the chronology of the personal story.

He also said constituents in the Memphis district “don’t look at me as a white person” after Brzezinski showed a tweet from Cohen in which he tweeted that a black tow truck driver told him he is “black.”

“It was funny. I had a tough night. I drive an ’86 Caddy. A lot of African-Americans drive old cars,” Cohen said. “Stereotype? It dies twice in two weeks. Albert King didn’t have bad luck, had no luck at all. I’m having no luck.”

“I hear it in Memphis all the time,” he added. “My constituents don’t look at me as a white person.”

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