Vitter's prostitution headache about to get worse?

"D.C. Madam" Deborah Jeane Palfrey has subpoenaed the Louisiana senator to testify in her case.


Steve Benen
April 7, 2008 9:59PM (UTC)

Sen. David Vitter, R-La., probably thought, or at least hoped, that his sex scandal was largely behind him. We learned last year, of course, that Vitter had used the services of the "D.C. Madam" -- including making arrangements for liaisons while casting votes in Congress -- despite being married and running on a conservative "family values" platform.

Vitter's story reemerged a bit a month ago, in light of Eliot Spitzer's prostitution scandal and the various similarities between the two controversies.

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However, with the statute of limitations having expired, Vitter probably thought this humiliation was largely behind him. It's not.

Defending herself against a sortie of felony charges stemming from running an alleged interstate prostitution business, Deborah Jeane Palfrey has subpoenaed Sen. David Vitter, R-La., to testify. Vitter's telephone number appeared in the phone records of Palfrey's business for February 2001, which Palfrey had released to the media. At the time that was revealed, Vitter issued a statement confirming he had used the service. Through his lawyer, Vitter has said he will not testify.

Late on Friday, according to the Legal Times, a lawyer who has represented Vitter urged a federal court judge to nullify the subpoena. The judge didn't buy it.

For his part, Vitter, when asked about this by the New Orleans Times-Picayune, said, "I want to reaffirm how sorry I am to have hurt the people I love so deeply, starting with my family and certainly including the people of Louisiana."

If he's forced to testify, I suspect we'll be hearing that apology again.

As for the broader political implications, how upset do you suppose the Republican establishment would be if a conservative Republican senator were forced to testify in a prostitution case in an election year?


Steve Benen

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