(Photo: Congressman John Fleming)
It all began with the publication of a book entitled “Murder in the Bayou,” which examines the murders of eight prostitutes in Jefferson Davis Parish in the mid-2000s. It is alleged in the book that Republican U.S. Rep. Charles Boustany, who is running for the Senate, was involved with prostitutes.
The book, authored by Ethan Brown, doesn’t claim that Boustany had anything to do with the murders, but said that one of his staffers, Martin Guillory, helped operate a hotel in Jennings allegedly frequented by the prostitutes and that Boustany used their services.
Boustany vehemently denied the allegations in a conference call press conference, and Guillory, a field representative, has resigned. “I didn’t know of his affiliation with this place of business. I think Mr. Guillory hid that from us,” Boustany said.
Boustany was hoping, of course, that by addressing the allegations, the story would quickly go away. No such luck. It was apparently too juicy a tidbit for other Senate candidates to ignore and, as some politicos assert, they wanted to keep the flames burning.
State Treasurer John Kennedy, a Republican, issued a statement which said that the Boustany campaign had sent out an e-mail alleging that the Kennedy campaign played a role in the revelations about Boustany.
Kennedy said: “I want to be very clear that my campaign played absolutely no role in creating this story alleging Congressman Boustany’s sexual relationships with prostitutes that were later murdered, his staff’s alleged involvement in running the bar and hotel where this illicit behavior took place, or publishing the book ‘Murder in the Bayou’ written by Ethan Brown and published by Simon and Schuster.”
Boustany called Kennedy a “political predator with no regard for the truth” and accused him and his “operatives” of peddling the story to media throughout the state.
Boustany also told Greg Hilburn of the USA Today Network, “John Kennedy has proven Louisiana can’t trust him. I’m very confident Louisiana will not reward a sleazy politician.”
He added, “My family and I are victims of false, blatant, scurrilous lies. To have my integrity and character called into question based on despicable lies is hurtful. I’m really hurt by it and I’m angry.”
Kennedy is not backing down. He told the media that he won’t back off asking about allegations that his opponent in the U.S. Senate race was allegedly involved with prostitutes, noting that Boustany has not sued the author nor the publisher.
The Baton Rouge Advocate reported this e-mail comment from the publisher Scribner/Simon & Schuster’s Brian Belfiglio, vice president and director of publicity: “While we do not comment on our editorial process, Scribner is confident that Ethan Brown’s Murder in the Bayou is a responsibly reported account by an experienced journalist.”
While Republican U.S. Rep. John Fleming, also a candidate for the U.S. Senate, has not incurred the wrath of Boustany, he, too, sent out a statement.
Fleming said: “First and foremost, I want to make it clear that I have played no role in advancing the news stories, nor have I directed any staff to do so as well, regarding alleged impropriety by Charles. We have read the stories like everyone else and have been shocked by the allegations levied against Charles and one of his longtime staffers.”
Who would gain the most if Boustany’s campaign collapses? First would be Kennedy because Boustany seems to be his chief rival among GOP candidates in making the runoff.
If voters do abandon Boustany because of the allegations, Fleming, and Republicans Rob Maness, and David Duke could benefit as well.