LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Speaking out for the first time since his suicide, State Representative Dan Johnson's widow, Rebecca Johnson, accused the media of bullying her husband and harassing his friends and family during a seven-month investigation conducted by the Kentucky Center for Investigative reporting (KYCIR).
"I don't know if there's anybody out there in this listening audience that could've understood or withstood what he has had to stand under," Johnson said. "This assault, I don't know, can anybody really stand under that? They threw everything at him but the kitchen sink."
In an interview given to NBC News Thursday night, Johnson said her husband suffered from a variety of ailments he developed while working in the aftermath of the 9-11 attack on the World Trade Center.
She said the recent series of KYCIR reports questioning her husband's resume and character, and the accusation of a sexual assault of a 17-year-old girl, put too much of a strain on him. She attacked the reporter personally.
"I am confident that if that little greasy reporter hadn't done what he did, my husband would be alive right now," Johnson said.
Hours after Johnson's suicide, Louisville Public Media released a statement expressing sadness over Johnson's death and defended their reporting as unbiased, with the intention of holding public officials accountable.
On Monday, when KYCIR published the reports under the title, "The Pope's Long Con," there was a bipartisan call for Johnson's resignation from the legislature.
On Tuesday, Johnson refused to resign and publicly denied any wrongdoing.
On Wednesday, he took his own life.
"It was a lynch mob funded by out of state money, funded by a liberal group of people, that their belief system is totally opposite of ours," Johnson said. "And for that, they want to crucify him."
Rebecca Johnson described her husband as someone who was committed to helping others.
"He would help anyone and never expect anything in return," Johnson said. "So, you know, the media can keep killing off good people and there's not going to be any good people left."