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Tamara Lush and Evan Berland, Published June 30 2009

South Carolina governer who went missing now admits affair dates back to 2001

COLUMBIA, S.C. - South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford is admitting more encounters with his Argentine mistress than he previously has disclosed.

In a lengthy, emotional interview with The Associated Press, the governor described seven meetings with the woman, including their first in 2001. Sanford says there have been five over a 12-month period, including two multi-night stays with her in New York.

It was the first disclosure of any get-togethers with her in the United States and contradicted a public confession last week during which he admitted to a total of four encounters in the past year.

He previously announced he would reimburse the state for money spent during a government trip to Brazil and Argentina in June 2008. But he insists no public money was used for any other meetings with her.

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