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Former President Donald Trump listens as Georgia U.S. Senate candidate Herschel Walker speaks during Trump's Save America rally in Perry, Ga., on Sept. 25, 2021. (AP) Former President Donald Trump listens as Georgia U.S. Senate candidate Herschel Walker speaks during Trump's Save America rally in Perry, Ga., on Sept. 25, 2021. (AP)

Former President Donald Trump listens as Georgia U.S. Senate candidate Herschel Walker speaks during Trump's Save America rally in Perry, Ga., on Sept. 25, 2021. (AP)

Tom Kertscher
By Tom Kertscher April 4, 2022

If Your Time is short

  • The claims are primarily based on police reports and court records filed between 2001 and 2008. 

  • The ad omits that Walker was never arrested or charged with a crime.

In a Republican-on-Republican attack in Georgia’s U.S. Senate race, which could decide which party controls the Senate, an unusually long campaign ad has this opening: 

"Warning: Viewer discretion is advised."

The ad spotlights domestic violence allegations made between 2001 and 2008 against former football star Herschel Walker.

At one point in the ad, text on the screen says: "What is Herschel hiding?"


It’s the latest in a series of attacks against Walker by Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black, who polls show is trailing Walker in the state’s May 24 primary. Walker is endorsed by former President Donald Trump.

Both the ad, posted to YouTube on March 16, and a companion website also paid for by Black’s campaign, include footnotes and links to related police reports, court records and news stories. 

Left out of all of it is that, although Walker allegedly made violent threats toward women and police, he was never arrested or charged with a crime. 

"Fourteen years ago, Herschel bravely came forward about his journey with mental health — he even wrote a book where he came clean about how his behavior before treatment affected some of the people he loves most," Walker’s campaign said in a statement to PolitiFact. "He has owned up, apologized, gotten treatment and since dedicated his life to sharing his story to help others." 

Walker in a 2008 book said he had dissociative identity disorder, a mental disorder. 

Context on the ad’s claims 

The claims are based on police reports and court records between 2001 and 2008. Some involve Walker’s former wife, who was known as Cynthia Walker and is now known as Cynthia Grossman. The couple married in 1983 and divorced in 2002. After the divorce, they began to "engage in activities together" for the benefit of their son, according to court records.

Claim: Walker's "ex-wife accused him of 'physically abusive and extremely threatening behavior,'" and Walker "threatened to kill her"; Walker "once held a razor to her throat" and choked her.

The source cited for the first two parts of this claim is a court application Grossman filed on Dec. 28, 2005, for a protective order against Walker. Both were residents of Dallas County, Texas, at the time.

As the ad indicated, the application accused Walker of having "a history of physically abusive and extremely threatening behavior" toward his former wife. The application also alleged that on one occasion, Walker placed a handgun to Grossman’s head and said "he was going to kill" her.

The protective order was granted on the day the application was filed, based on incidents less than three weeks earlier. On Dec. 11, 2005, Walker told Grossman’s sister that he planned to kill Grossman that day; the same day, Walker made what Grossman described as a threatening gesture toward her, according to the application. A judge found that Walker posed "a clear and present danger of family violence." 

Police contacted Walker the same day about the alleged Dec. 11, 2005, threat against Grossman. He said he had not spoken to Grossman’s sister in three months.

Regarding the third part of the claim, Grossman said in a 2008 CNN interview that Walker once threatened her with a straight razor. "He had it to my throat and kept saying he was going to kill me... think he choked me. I think I passed out." 

According to the CNN story, Walker said he didn’t remember the assault, but didn’t deny it and referred to his dissociative identity disorder. "One of the symptoms of DID (dissociative identity disorder) is blackouts," he told CNN. "I do not remember certain events.…I'm troubled by my actions and will always deeply regret any pain I've caused Cindy."

Claim: Walker threatened to shoot his ex-wife and a mistress.

Grossman’s 2005 application for a protective order alleged that 

Walker on one occasion placed a handgun to Grossman’s head and said "he was going to kill" her.

In a 2008 ABC News interview, Grossman described Walker holding a gun to her head and telling her: "I'm going to blow your f'ing brains out," according to a transcript of the interview. 

Walker didn't deny he threatened his wife, but claimed to have no memory of it, ABC reported. Walker told ABC: "I'm talking about everything else. If I can remember, I'd talk about it."

Regarding the second part of the claim, a woman in the Dallas suburb of Irving told Irving police on Jan. 7, 2012, that she had been in an on-and-off relationship with Walker for about 20 years, and that around Dec. 19, 2011, Walker threatened her life. 

Walker "told her that he was going to come and sit outside her apartment and ‘blow her head off when she came outside,’" according to an Irving police report. After reporting that to an officer, the woman said she didn’t want the matter pursued any further and didn’t want Walker to get in trouble. The matter was closed, according to the report.

Walker’s campaign denied the woman’s allegations.

Claim: A cheerleader accused Walker of "threatening and stalking her."

An Irving woman told Irving police on May 28, 2002, that Walker began following her in his vehicle after she saw him that day. She said she was frightened because, after a confrontation with him approximately a year and half earlier, "he began calling her, making threats to her and having her house watched," according to a police report

The woman said she did not want police to contact Walker because that would "only make the problem worse," the report said.

Walker’s campaign denied the woman’s allegations.

The police report does not identify the woman as a cheerleader, but news reports indicate that she used to be a cheerleader for the National Football League’s Dallas Cowboys.

Walker, who was a Heisman Trophy winner as a University of Georgia running back, played for the Cowboys from 1986 to 1988 and from 1996 to 1997.  

Claim: "During one domestic violence call," Walker "threatened a ‘shootout with police.’ He threatened to kill women, he threatened to kill cops."

On Sept. 23, 2001, while Walker and Grossman were still married, Irving police responded to a dispute between the couple and "took cover" outside their home before ordering Walker to come out. 

Much of the police report is redacted, so details of the incident aren’t clear. But the report said an "intelligence report will be generated to make" Walker's "address a caution address, since he does have violent tendencies and has talked about having a shootout with the police."

Walker’s mental disorder

In his book, "Breaking Free: My Life with Dissociative Identity Disorder," Walker said he was diagnosed in 2002 with a mental illness, dissociative identity disorder. Walker wrote that he suffered from "alters," or alternate personalities. 

The publisher’s description of the book said Walker "realized that his life, at times, was simply out of control. He often felt angry, self-destructive, and unable to connect meaningfully with friends and family."

Dissociative identity disorder, commonly known as multiple personality disorder, is "characterized by the presence in one individual of two or more distinct identities or personality states that each recurrently take control of the individual’s behavior," according to the American Psychological Association. 

Both the American Psychological Association and the American Psychiatric Association say memory loss is a common symptom of the disorder.

Georgia race could decide Senate control

The winner of the Republican nomination is expected to face Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock, who faces no major Democratic challengers, in the Nov. 8 election. Warnock won a special election to the seat in 2021.

Three campaign watchers each rate the overall race as a toss-up.

The outcome could decide which party controls the Senate, which is split 50-50.

RELATED: Herschel Walker misconstrues evolution of humans, apes

RELATED: Georgia fact-checks

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Our Sources

YouTube, Gary Black "Are you thinking about voting for Herschel Walker? ‘Imagine’" ad, March 16, 2022

Email, Gary Black campaign spokesperson Dan McLagan, March 31, 2022

Email, Herschel Walker campaign spokesperson Mallory Blount, March 31, 2022

Associated Press, "As Herschel Walker eyes Senate run, a turbulent past emerges," July 23, 2021

Associated Press, "Police records complicate Herschel Walker's recovery story," Feb. 11, 2022, transcript of April, 14, 2008 ABC News story, accessed March 29, 2022, 2005 application for protective order, accessed March 29, 2022, 2005 protective order, accessed March 29, 2022, police report related to 2005 protective order, accessed March 29, 2022, 2008 CNN story, accessed March 29, 2022, Jan. 7, 2012 Irving, Texas, police report, accessed March 29, 2022, May 28, 2002 Irving, Texas police report, accessed March 29, 2022, Sept. 23, 2001 Irving, Texas police report, accessed March 30, 2022

Atlanta Journal Constitution, "Inside Gary Black’s all-out attacks against Herschel Walker," Oct. 29, 2021

American Psychological Association, "Dissociative identity disorder," accessed March 31, 2022

American Psychiatric Association, "What Are Dissociative Disorders?", August 2018

Google Books, "Breaking Free: My Life with Dissociative Identity Disorder" (pages 12-13), accessed March 31, 2022

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