Senator's number on escort service list
By DOUGLASS K. DANIEL, Associated Press Writer 1 hour,
51 minutes ago
WASHINGTON - Sen. David Vitter, R-La., apologized
Monday night for "a very serious sin in my past" after
his telephone number appeared among those associated
with an escort service operated by the so-called "D.C.
Vitter's spokesman, Joel Digrado, confirmed the
statement in an e-mail sent to The Associated Press.
"This was a very serious sin in my past for which I
am, of course, completely responsible," Vitter said in
the statement. "Several years ago, I asked for and
received forgiveness from God and my wife in
confession and marriage counseling. Out of respect for
my family, I will keep my discussion of the matter
there with God and them. But I certainly offer my
deep and sincere apologies to all I have disappointed
and let down in any way."
The statement containing Vitter's apology said his
telephone number was on old phone records of Pamela
Martin and Associates before he ran for the Senate.
Deborah Jeane Palfrey was accused in federal court of
racketeering by running a prostitution ring that
netted more than $2 million over 13 years, beginning
in 1993. She contends, however, that her escort
service, Pamela Martin and Associates, was a
Vitter, 46, a Republican in his first Senate term, was
elected to the Senate in 2004. He represented
Louisiana's 1st Congressional District in the House
from 1999 to 2004.
Vitter and his wife, Wendy, live in Metairie, La.,
with their four children.
Palfrey's attorney, Montgomery Blair Sibley, told the
AP, "I'm stunned that someone would be apologizing for
this." He said Palfrey had posted the phone numbers of
her escort service's clients online Monday, but he did
not know whether Vitter's number was among them.
Vitter's statement was sent to the AP's New Orleans
bureau Monday evening.
Palfrey's Web site contains 20 compressed files of
phone records, dating from August 1994 to August 2006.
No names are listed, only phone numbers. Palfrey wrote
on the Web site that she believed a disk containing
the records had been pirated, and wrote that she was
posting the records "to thwart any possible distorted
version and to ensure the integrity of the
Silas Lee, a political analyst and pollster in New
Orleans, spoke Monday about the possible political
impact on Vitter.
"In the short term, I think the issue will dominate
the discourse for a few days and weeks, and though
he's up for re-election in 2010, it should dissipate
by then," Lee told WWL-TV in New Orleans.
"But for some of his very conservative constituents,
it might not be as easy. In their mind and eyes, they
may not be able to forgive. The majority may overlook
it in time depending on his job performance and how
sincere voters believe he wants them to forgive him."
Earlier this year Palfrey, 51, of Vallejo, Calif.,
asked the Supreme Court to delay the criminal case
against her a request the court denied in May. Her
attorney had argued that it was unfair to proceed
against Palfrey because her assets remain seized in a
civil forfeiture case, meaning she lacks the money to
hire an attorney of her choice.
Randall Tobias, a senior official in the State
Department, resigned in April after ABC News
confronted him about his use of the escort service. He
admitted that he had hired women to come to his
Washington condo and give him massages but denied that
he had sex with the escorts.
Palfrey threatened for months to release her client
list, which led prosecutors to accuse her of trying to
intimidate potential witnesses.
Contending that her escort service was legal, Palfrey
revealed details of its operation on ABC's news
magazine "20/20" on May 4. At the time, ABC said it
could not link any information provided by Palfrey to
members of Congress or White House officials but did
find links to prominent business executives, NASA
officials and at least five military officers.
Prosecutors contend that Palfrey knew the 130 women
she employed over 13 years were engaged in
prostitution. She claims that she operated a "legal,
high-end erotic fantasy service" and that the women
signed contracts in which they promised not to have
sex with clients. The service charged a flat rate of
$275 for 90 minutes, she said.
Palfrey pleaded guilty to pimping charges in 1991 and
was sentenced to 18 months in a California prison.