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Sen. Ensign Resigns

WASHINGTON (CN) - Nevada Sen. John Ensign will resign effective May 3, the two-term Republican said. The Senate Ethics Committee has been investigating him for nearly 2 years.

The investigation began when Ensign's aide and then-best friend, Doug Hampton, said Ensign had had an affair with Hampton's wife, then arranged that the Hamptons be given $96,000, which Ensign called a gift.

Ensign then allegedly tried to persuade Nevada businessmen to hire Hampton as a lobbyist.

Now Hampton faces his own legal problems.

By resigning now, Ensign avoids the possibility - now considered a likelihood - that the Senate would bring formal charges against him.

Nevada's governor, also a Republican, will appoint Ensign's replacement.

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