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One doctor who examined him said in one email viewed by CNN that he believed Rekola's recent history of "anxiety, stress, reduction in eating," among other factors, could be a cause of his stomach acid triggered problems.
Two of Rekola's close friends who worked on Capitol Hill at the time told CNN that he confided in them throughout 2015 about Farenthold's abusive behavior and witnessed his deteriorating health.
During the nine months that he worked for the congressman, Rekola said, he was also subject to a stream of angry behavior not sexual in nature -- screaming fits of rage, slamming fists on desks and castigating aides, including regularly calling them "f**ktards."Elizabeth Peace was hired to help with Farenthold's communications efforts in May 2015 when Rekola was sometimes out of the office to deal with his stomach ailment.
Peace, who eventually became a full-time communications director, confirmed in an interview that Farenthold regularly called aides "f**ktards." She also said she was present when Farenthold made the oral sex comment about Rekola's then-fiancée.
It is currently investigating sexual harassment allegations made by Farenthold's former aide, Lauren Greene.
The congressman has previously denied any wrongdoing in the Greene case. Darrell Issa of California, Rekola started working for Farenthold in December 2014 with an explicit mandate to help create positive headlines for the congressman.
While there is no way to know for sure the exact cause of Rekola's medical problems, he said his doctor and therapist believed the stomach illness likely stemmed from stress. But it was a financial move he and his fiancée could not afford to make at the time, and they decided to stick it out until at least after the wedding.
Greene's allegations were in the spotlight soon after Rekola started his job, and he said the congressman grew increasingly prone to lashing out at staff."Every time he didn't like something, he would call me a f**ktard or idiot.
He would slam his fist down in rage and explode in anger," Rekola said.
It ranged from making sexually graphic jokes to berating aides -- bullying that Rekola says led him to seek medical treatment and psychological counseling, and at one point, caused him to vomit daily.
One comment from the congressman was especially personal.
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Rekola was about to leave town to get married in July 2015, when, he said, Farenthold, standing within earshot of other staffers in his Capitol Hill office, said to the groom-to-be: "Better have your fiancée blow you before she walks down the aisle -- it will be the last time." He then proceeded to joke about whether Rekola's now-wife could wear white on her wedding day -- a clear reference, Rekola said, to whether she had had premarital sex.