Senator's Link to 'D.C. Madam' Exposed
Tuesday, July 10, 2007; 11:00 PM
WASHINGTON -- Louisiana Sen. David Vitter said he had sinned and was sorry, hours after Hustler magazine told him his telephone number was among those disclosed by the "D.C. Madam."
The first-term Republican senator declined interview requests Tuesday, and he made no public appearances in the Capitol. The night before, he'd made a startling confession in an e-mail to The Associated Press:
"This was a very serious sin in my past for which I am, of course, completely responsible. Several years ago, I asked for and received forgiveness from God and my wife in confession and marriage counseling."
Vitter, 46, and his wife, Wendy, live in the New Orleans suburb of Metairie with their four children.
He recently played a prominent role in derailing an immigration bill backed by President Bush, and he is Southern regional campaign chairman for Rudy Giuliani's presidential bid.
Vitter's statement said his number was on phone records of Pamela Martin and Associates before he ran for the Senate in 2004. Federal prosecutors have accused Deborah Jeane Palfrey of racketeering by running a prostitution ring that netted more than $2 million over 13 years, beginning in 1993. She contends that her escort service, Pamela Martin and Associates, was a legitimate business offering sexual fantasies.
Palfrey's lawyer, Montgomery Blair Sibley, said in an interview that the call from Vitter's number to the escort service was made Feb. 27, 2001.
Vitter, a Harvard University graduate and Rhodes scholar, spent six years in the House _ beginning in January 1999 _ before being elected to the Senate.
Sibley confirmed that author Dan Moldea, who is writing a book with Palfrey, discovered Vitter's number in Palfrey's phone records, which she has publicly released. In an interview Tuesday, Moldea said he called Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt, for whom Moldea has done consulting work. Moldea said a Hustler editor called Vitter's office late Monday afternoon.
In June, Flynt took out an ad in The Washington Post offering $1 million to anyone who could show he or she had engaged in a sexual encounter with a member of Congress "or a high-ranking government official." In a statement Tuesday, Hustler said Vitter's statement was "the result of a multi-pronged investigation launched and run by Larry Flynt."
Vincent Bruno, a member of the Louisiana Republican State Central Committee, said Tuesday that Vitter should resign "for his own good, the good of the party and the good of his family."
In 2004, Bruno accused Vitter of having an affair with a New Orleans prostitute. In a radio interview at the time, Vitter called the allegation "absolutely and completely untrue," and his supporters said Bruno was conducting a political vendetta.