September 12th, 2007
04:08 PM ET
7 years ago

Hustler publisher claims senator visited prostitute

CNN's Carol Costello reports Sen. Vitter faces new prostitute allegations.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – Republican Sen. David Vitter, who admitted earlier this year to a "very serious sin" after his telephone number appeared in the telephone records of a Washington, DC escort service, faced new allegations Tuesday he had a relationship with a prostitute from his home state of Louisiana.

With Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt at her side, the former prostitute Wendy Ellis told reporters that Vitter employed her services several times a week between July and November of 1999. At the time, Vitter was a new face Capitol Hill, having won a special election only months earlier.

"I want the truth to be known," Ellis said. "It was a pure sexual relationship. He would come in and do his business."

Vitter, who acknowledged in July to contacting an escort service after Hustler reported his number was linked to the alleged 'DC Madam' Deborah Jeanne Palfrey,' has denied any links to Louisiana prostitutes.

"My admission has encouraged long-time political enemies and those hoping to profit from the situation to spread falsehoods, like those New Orleans stories in recent reporting,” Vitter said in July. “Those stories are not true.”

On Tuesday, Flynt said Ellis' passed a polygraph test, but he had no other evidence linking the senator to the former prostitute.

"We don't even like to mix polygraphs into this stuff, because they're not admissible in court," he said. "But you know she's concerned that she be believed as much as Vitter is believed."

Ellis herself added, "I want the truth to be known, I've been called a liar and a liar I'm not."

Earlier in the year, Flynt launched a campaign to publicize lawmakers who he believed are sexual hypocrites by offering up to $1 million for evidence of impropriety.

Vitter's office did not respond to a request for comment, but his spokesman did issue a statement to the New Orleans Times-Picayune saying, "Sen. Vitter and his wife have addressed all of this very directly. The senator is focused on important Louisiana priorities like the water resources bill and the Iraq debate."

– CNN's Carol Costello contributed to this report


Filed under: D.C. Madam • David Vitter
soundoff (75 Responses)
  1. James, Phoenix AZ

    Prostitutes and Polygraphs – THAT's what Larry Flynt has??

    Question – how much is Wendy Ellis being paid to make this claim?

    Mr Vitter must answer to his family and his constituents (just as Mr Craig). Unless Mr Vitter has been called into court and lied under oath about this matter – nothing else to discuss.

    September 12, 2007 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  2. Fernando, Atlanta, GA

    Oh well, why I am not surprised? Another case of Republican hypocrisy... When are these guys stop preaching??

    September 12, 2007 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  3. Josh Maloney, Oakland, CA

    Larry Flynt is a hero and I very much appreciate his help at outing the many hypocritical people in our government.

    September 12, 2007 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  4. Denham, Parsons, KS

    Right, the only people that have to own up to behavior are democrats. There is no higher standard.

    September 12, 2007 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  5. spraynardkruger

    James, of course there is more to discuss. As a law-abiding God-fearing Christian American I do NOT want scum like this to represent me in my government. Voters will remember this slime come 2008, even if he doesn't see his day in court, we understand full-well what he has done. He has done his part to leave a taint upon the Republican party that will not depart.

    September 12, 2007 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  6. John, Kansas City, MO

    James,
    If you think that someone repeatedly calls an escort service but does not partake of any of the "services" you are just as naive as Vitter's wife. Personally, I don't care whether he slept with 20 prostitutes and it doesn't bother me in the least if Senator Craig is a homosexual (though both of these men probably wouldn't be in office if their voters discovered this). The problem I have with both of them is their hypocrisy.

    September 12, 2007 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  7. Jared, Bennington, VT

    That's all Flynt needs. Let the truth come out, Vitter, and let the LA voters decide whether it's relevant or not.

    September 12, 2007 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  8. Kevin Honeycutt, Boca Raton FL.

    The continued Republican hypocrisy. The party for "Family Values" is an absolute joke.

    September 12, 2007 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  9. Mark H.

    CNN and the rest of the press should be embarrassed to serve as the mouthpiece for Hustler's Flynt and publish such trash.

    September 12, 2007 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  10. kris, St. Paul, MN

    It seems all republican leaders involve in either Prostitution and Polygamy or corruption, if not finding same sex partner in the airport. Republican morality and ethics equalls to muslim fundamentalism!

    September 12, 2007 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  11. Chris

    God will judge him. He'll also judge you too Mr. Flint, but that's another story.

    I've called for Vitter to step down some time ago. If you all from LA don't protest it, you'll just suffer more than you are. C'mon guys, where is the outrage there??

    September 12, 2007 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  12. Fred Olson, Eagan, MN

    Vitter is AT LEAST as guilty as "Wide Stance Larry". And, just like Larry Craig, Vitter has admitted it. So why isn't he out? Just because there's a Democratic Governor in Louisiana, who would appoint a Democratic replacement to the Senate. In Idaho there is a Republican Governor. So the Republicans are happy to throw Craig to the wolves. See? No principles at all. Just another Republican double standard.

    September 12, 2007 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  13. Veronica, Stamford, CT

    HHHHHHHAAAAAAAAAA!!!! Me thinks Mr. Vitter got caught with his pants down ... AGAIN! Are ALL Republicans that sexually repressed that they must frequent prostitutes, both male and female? This from the party of "Family Values" ... the odorous stench of Republican hypocrisy ... REFRESHING!!

    September 12, 2007 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  14. Wyatt, OK City, OK

    Yeah, I bet that's what you were saying when they were all over Clinton, right James?

    Regardless, it makes a family values bible-thumper like Vitter into a total hypocrite!

    September 12, 2007 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  15. RA Las Vegas, NV

    Hurry; everybody jump on this band wagon! With all this sustenance; how could this story rate any less of our infidel nation? Infidelity at it’s finest running rapid throughout our world; also according to some of Americans enemies. Like Larry Flynt has never had a relationship with a prostitute in his life. God shall be the judge of man; not man him self. Just keep reporting the important issues CNN: What a great job, continue on! Too bad Larry flynt is not dead; from the looks of his photograph he should be dead.

    September 12, 2007 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  16. spinstopper

    Vitter will be done in the next election. That's the difference between Democrats and Republicans.

    September 12, 2007 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  17. Paul englewood, hi

    Great another in a long string of political hypocracy by a republican who champions family values.

    September 12, 2007 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  18. Bob, Long Beach, CA

    Wow how thoughtful of the prostitute to onlyt "want the truth to be known". Where was this desire for the truth to be known when she was committing a crime by taking money for sex. Oh wait that is right, you weren't being offered a million bucks to cough up the truth then.

    Lets face it, the only reason that Vitter wasn't pressured to step down is because his replacement would have been chosen by a Democratic governor. If not for that he would have gotten the same treatment that Craig got...

    I am so sick of this crappy system we have that gives people less punishment for ratting someone else out. If you commit the crime you should do the time. Helping in an investigation should be taken into consideration after the person has started serving their sentence and been on their best behavior, not before the person is sentenced

    September 12, 2007 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  19. Greg, Phoenix, AZ

    3 cheers for the scum of the earth.

    Flynt and his girl are true Americans.

    The 2nd statement was a joke by the way.

    September 12, 2007 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  20. Matt, Chicago

    Mark – CNN + the mainstream press should be embarassed of their failure at investigative journalism over the last 6 years and that Flynt has to be the one at the forefront. Vitter is the lying scumbag, not Flynt.

    September 12, 2007 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  21. IM4ULORD, Waukesha, WI

    It amazes me that anyone would care what scum like Larry Flint says. Our country's moral are all going to hell and these scumballs are the first in line to take us there. I sure hope the God fearing people in this country get on their knees at night, cause God knows we need the prayers.
    Forgive us Lord!

    September 12, 2007 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  22. Nads, Atlanta GA

    Hey RightyTighty:

    http://www.time.com/time/columnist/printout/0,8816,536170,00.html

    That should answer your mistaken impression of the 'Mission Accomplished' banner. Either way, way to entirely miss the point about Bush prematurely declaring "accomplishment" where he had no reason to do so.

    September 12, 2007 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  23. Grey Landry, New Orleans LA

    A southern politician from New Orleans is implicated in some sexual misconduct (none of that ever goes on in the Big Easy!) and its all over CNN. Another politician is caught red handed with tens of thousands in bribes, and the guy gets re-elected. Amazing.

    September 12, 2007 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  24. Laura, Tulsa OK

    I agree w. those who say LET THE VOTERS DECIDE the morality thing. Like Larry Craigs' "scandal" we each are called upon to judge.

    This "scandal" is the same thing. You have to look at the timing and the motivation. IT's all about politics.

    September 12, 2007 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  25. Josey, Tucson, AZ

    There's an old story about Arizona when it was granted statehood 1914. The two top cities, Phoenix and Tucson were given a choice of either having a prison or a university built. Phoenix, the larger of the two, thought there would be more money in prisons so the citizens chose a prison. Tucson, by default received a university.

    I'm skeptical that anyone from Phoenix is capable of making an intelligent comment about any subject.

    September 12, 2007 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
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