Read ’em here. Some of the texts are from an AP reporter who was chasing the rumor and a bunch more are from a Gresham Barrett supporter who’s torn about spreading the story. But as far as I know, only the ones between Folks and Haley’s campaign manager, Tim Pearson, have been verified.

There’s no smoking gun. Barrett’s supporter pretty clearly thinks the rumor is true but the most damning thing from Pearson is “I’m telling you man, we keep this under wraps and nh is going to win,” which could simply mean that he wants to kill off a baseless but damaging distraction. In fact, Pearson goes on to say later about possible “proof” emerging: “I know desperation is the mother of all invention – but I feel like whatever they come up with will be manufactured – and transparently so.” (On the other hand, Folks mentions a picture taken last year and Pearson doesn’t challenge him about it.) The bad news? Haley’s campaign obviously did view Folks as sympathetic to their cause — at one point Pearson says, “Hang in there. We are gonna win this thing man.” — which means Folks either did a hell of a job deceiving them or he really was on their side and didn’t want to come forward about this.

If he was always on their side, though, what’s with the creepy video he produced last year that’s got the stalker alarm sounding at Ace and Red State? (Credit Verum Serum for rediscovering it.) And what’s with this?

Folks said the proof exists in e-mails and texts between him and Haley that he and his attorneys are pulling together now. “Nikki says it’s categorically false. The problem with that is it’s categorically true,” Folks said in a phone interview Tuesday.

“There will be a very aggressive effort mounted to obtain all of the data that will corroborate what I’ve said.”

Folks, Sanford’s former communications director, said he admitted to the relationship on his blog because he heard that media outlets were working on the story. He said he also thought it was likely that others had evidence of the relationship.

“I did it because my wife was about to read it in another (media) outlet,” Folks said, adding he is not working for any rival campaign nor was he paid to make the admission.

So the media might have been about to break a story that he, when he was single, hooked up with a married woman, and rather than have a private chat with his wife and lie low in hopes that no one would publish anything — remember, even Barrett’s supporter seemed queasy — he decided to beam it out to the Internet. And then, when Haley’s campaign got angry, he downshifted into “aggrieved d-bag” mode, rescinding his vow not to talk about this further, lawyering up, and making an “aggressive effort” to pull together evidence that might destroy Haley. Which not only prolongs the story, no doubt to his wife’s delight, but makes him seem so scummy that Haley will end up looking like a victim here even if it’s all true. Someone should adopt this plotline for a movie with the twist ending being that the Folks character is actually in cahoots with the campaign, blunting the force of the about-to-be-revealed scandal by making himself look like such an A-hole that the lying candidate seems sympathetic by comparison. I’d see it.

Make sure you read those Ace and Red State posts I linked, incidentally. Ace has a detail about Folks’s track record in “selectively editing” e-mail exchanges to make himself look better. And Red State’s heard some rumors too; look for Erick Erickson’s parting thought. Here’s the video Verum Serum found.