The man at the center of the drug-infused, sex-laced scandal that has rocked the political careers and shaky marriage of state Treasurer Bill Lockyer and his wife, Nadia, strode into a San Jose courtroom Tuesday, his hair slick, his shirt untucked, and told a reporter, "There's a way bigger story than the sex tapes."

Before he had a chance to explain much more, his private defense attorney interrupted: "Do you want me to be your lawyer?" It was Adrienne Dell, a no-nonsense lawyer in a St. John Knit, telling him to clam up.

Stephen Chikhani, 35, with wraparound dark glasses and a soul patch under his lip, stopped talking after that. It was the first comment from either Alameda County Supervisor Nadia Lockyer or Chikhani about the rumored existence of a sex tape.

Chikhani, who has faced drug charges a number times over the past decade, was in Santa Clara County Superior Court on Tuesday after a California Highway Patrol officer pulled him over on Stevens Creek Boulevard in San Jose in September and allegedly found a bag of methamphetamine in his maroon 2003 Nissan 350Z. He faces four charges: possession of methamphetamine, being under the influence of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia and resisting arrest for refusing to get out of his car voluntarily.

"Man, I have been sober for over a year, and I just relapsed tonight," he told the CHP officer that September night, a contention that conflicts with court records indicating he tested positive for drugs within that time period.

Chikhani is free on $15,000 bail. His hearing was postponed until March 22.

But with a TV camera crew perched in the corner of the courtroom, Chikhani knew it wasn't the drug charges the media was here for.

Chikhani is the "other man" in the Lockyer marriage, a troubled union between 70-year-old Bill Lockyer and a woman 30 years his junior. Nadia Lockyer apparently met Chikhani in December 2010, a month after she was elected to the Alameda County Board of Supervisors. Chikhani was allegedly addicted to methamphetamine. She was addicted to alcohol.

Bill Lockyer publicly referred to Chikhani as his wife's "ex-boyfriend" after a still-under-investigation confrontation at a Newark motel earlier this month left her with head and neck injuries and Chikhani under suspicion. It also made public the Lockyers' personal turmoil.

Bill Lockyer's office had little to say Tuesday. Instead, his spokesman Tom Dresslar said, "The treasurer and everybody in this office in focused on doing the job we're supposed to do for taxpayers. That's our comment."

Before Chikhani's lawyer ushered him away from reporters Tuesday, Chikhani said that "everything was mutually consensual" between him and Nadia Lockyer. In a past interview with this newspaper, he said the Lockyers were "separated" during their affair.

Bill Lockyer has publicly revealed that his wife checked into the Homewood Suites after they had an argument. Later that night, she called police and accused Chikhani of beating her in the hotel room. Days later, she issued a news release, saying she had checked herself into a rehab facility to get treatment for "alcoholism and addiction." She declined to specify her addiction, except to say she was being treated for "chemical dependency" and chronic pain from a past car accident.

This newspaper viewed text messages between Nadia Lockyer and Chikhani, which tell a story of a bitter breakup.

"THE LAST 3 MONTHS U PUT ME THRU HELL N BACK -- N MORE. YOU WILL SEE N FEEL THE PAIN YOUR LIES HAVE INFLICTED IN MY HEART SOUL EVERY MOMENT YOU FIND YOURSELF ALONE OR BORED WITH ANOTHER," she wrote to Chikhani on Dec. 26, a little more than three months after Chikhani was arrested on possession of methamphetamine. He was jailed until November on the case before being bailed out, according to court records.

In January, the Alameda County District Attorney's Office received a call from Nadia Lockyer's staff saying that she was being stalked by Chikhani. After interviewing Nadia Lockyer, however, the district attorney's office said they found no evidence to support a stalking charge.

Newark police are still investigating Lockyer's allegation that Chikhani beat her. He hasn't been charged in that case, which has been referred to the state Attorney General's Office because Nadia Lockyer once worked for an agency in the Alameda County District Attorney's Office. Bill Lockyer served eight years as Attorney General before being elected treasurer.

On Tuesday afternoon, Chikhani's father answered the door of the Almaden Valley townhouse he shares with his wife and son. He declined to comment or allow his son to come to the door.

Earlier this month, however, Chikhani told this newspaper that although he tried calling the police about the Newark incident, "they won't call me back, so I feel like I'm being pushed into a corner."

Contact Julia Prodis Sulek at 408-278-3409.