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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Prostitute Tells of Affair with David Vitter


Here's the story at the New Orleans Times-Pacayune.

Wendy Yow Ellis said she met Vitter through an escort service and saw him two to three times a week in an apartment at Dauphine and Dumaine streets in the French Quarter. Vitter was elected to the U.S. House in May 1999 and sworn in to office June 8.

At first, Ellis said, he knew her only by her stage name: Leah.

Ellis said the affair ended "abruptly" when she gave him her real name. She shares a first name with his wife, Wendy Baldwin Vitter.

"When I asked him if he would like to carry this beyond the business, I gave him my name and phone number. I said, 'My real name is Wendy,' and he said, 'Oh my God,'" Ellis recalled. "I did see him a few times at the club I danced at after that. He just kind of gave me a look of disbelief."

Ellis, 34, spoke at a press conference in Beverly Hills hosted by Larry Flynt, the publisher of the magazine Hustler. Flynt uncovered Vitter's phone number in the records of a Washington, D.C., escort service this summer, and he will pay Ellis to share details of her trysts with Vitter in the magazine.

Flynt said Tuesday that he wants to expose hypocrisy among politicians who run on a platform of conservative values while carrying on extramarital affairs in their private lives.

"It is not a question of muckraking and exposing the perverts," Flynt said. "It's more than that. It is trying to maintain some honesty in the government.

How will the Senate Republican Leadership and New Orleans Republican party respond?

NEW ORLEANS -- Analysts said the political future of U.S. Sen. David Vitter again was thrown into question Tuesday after a former New Orleans prostitute vouched in person that the senator was one of her former clients.

"It's just a continuous drip of information, allegations, contradictions that are beyond his control," said Silas Lee, a New Orleans political analyst. "The question is what's the tolerance of voters."

When Vitter's sex scandal broke out in July after he acknowledged that his Washington telephone number showed up on the phone records of an escort service, political observers thought Vitter could weather the maelstrom.

Since then, though, the atmosphere surrounding Vitter and the Republican Party has become more dire because of the guilty plea in an airport sex sting by Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho.

And the new dynamics may mean trouble from Vitter.

His survival has become "definitely more complicated," said Elliott Stonecipher, a Shreveport political analyst.

With Republicans reeling, they will take measures to save the GOP's image and keep the sex scandals from tainting the rest of the party, Stonecipher said. "Vitter could become the guy the party throws under the bus to keep the discussion where it is."

Norm Coleman should be called for comment on this one.