The LouisianaVoice piece was no white wash. It actually questioned the credibility of the prostitute, Wendy Ellis by stating:
“Clancy DuBos, publisher ofGambit Magazine in New Orleans wisely spiked that publication’s initial story about Berry’s toxic (to Vitter) interview with Ellis after receiving court documents that shot gaping holes in parts of Berry’s blog post.http://www.bestofneworleans.com/blogofneworleans/archives/2015/10/18/vitter-update-inconsistencies-come-to-light
Nor should anyone interpret this as a defense of Vitter.
Far from it.
The timing of the story is terribly suspect, given the election was only a week away when Berry posted it. But even if Ellis’s claims ultimately fail the smell test…”
Pretty strong stuff by LouisianaVoice denouncing the prostitute’s credibility, wouldn’t you say?
Yet, in my email box emerged emails from Vitter contributors and supporters lashing out at me, demanding—“how dare you spread the trash, I am ashamed of you, the other media is not doing it, even Clancy withdrew his column” type of responses.
The following day, I followed it up with another article which was the audio of the Tea Party conservative Jeff Crouere’s interview with the blogger Jason B. Berry, who broke the recent scandal update, with videos of his interviewing the prostitute involved in the controversy. In publishing the interview, which I did after serious contemplation, I felt it would be useful to provide background into why Berry did what he did. Was he biased? Why publish them now, at this late moment in an election? What were his motivations? Does he dislike Vitter? Does he have any remorse? Does he question his own facts?
Those were the issues that arose out of the radio interview with Crouere-Berry interview. I felt it was in the public’s interest to know the particulars of the interview which included Berry’s admissions that he did not totally trust her.
Yes, there was my the repeating facts from Berry’s video interview with the prostitute, but, there was indeed so much more in his interview with Crouere. It actually put flesh on the bones of this updated emotional political soap opera.
But, laying out the facts so we can all weigh the claims as we know them, obviously would not satisfy those who are ardent Vitter backers and even those likely to vote for the Republican. This week, Hillary Clinton is facing the House once again on the Benghazi matter. Some of those same people are demanding that truth-finding is the object, not politics. It should be and Clinton, once all truths be told, should be vindicated or blamed or condemned. But, when it comes time to just mentioning the words Vitter and prostitute in the same sentence, there is no truth-seeking, at all. Instead, anyone simply making a passing reference to those two words are branded as cruel unforgiving heretics living in glass houses, who shouldn't be throwing stones.
Nor did it help diminish these loyal supporters that I wrote as a preface in the second article:
“Keep in mind, this information is provided by Berry during the last week of the campaign. In the interview, he discusses why it is being disclosed now. In my view, the credibility of the information must be scrutinized by the last-minute revelation during the middle of an emotional campaign. However, the Vitter campaign also haspresented late-in-the campaign theatrics and charges. Recently, it disclosed a serious allegation that had been publicly available regarding Jay Dardenne's alleged "double-dipping". Then, last week, it secretly uploaded and distributed a dubious video to a blogger in their attempt to support questionable claims, again, against Dardenne. In my opinion, clean hands, it has not.
There are a number of reasons that Ellis’s interview statements with Berry should not be believed--which reasons are discussed in the Crouere interview. There are also reasons that some of her story might be believed. Personally, I feel either she is recalling facts that occurred in her life or she is a terrific actresses. However,do review the interview videosand make your own conclusions.
The avalanche of anger against my even writing about this subject was profound.
Here are some of their responses (without giving names) from email and social media:
Referring to Berry: “Scum”
“You’re going to take the word of a convicted felon, a liar, who has been totally discredited, that no traditional media will run the story, on television or in the papers”
“Libs will do anything to go after Vitter”
“You just hate him” “He apologized”.
“She failed a lie detector test. She has been investigated time and time again. She is trash, her story was rejected by Hustler. What more do you want?”
“What difference does it make? We are hiring a governor, his personal issue is between his wife. We all sin and we have had unfaithful governors, legislators, presidents and did you complain then?”
“My God, this has been litigated adnauseum and the Louisiana voters have made their decision, it does not matter since they voted for Vitter against Democrat Charlie Melancon”
“There is not an iota of physical evidence. No DNA, no pictures, no phone records, nothing. How can you possibly publish anything that is not supported by any independent fact?”
I could go on with some of their responses but I think you get the picture.
Interestingly, when I asked them and others, if they have watched the videos or listened to the Crouere interview or even my preceding remarks, I received a resounding silence. The lack of response has been stunning.
So, I now readily admit, given my interest in providing information so we can all make our own decisions as to whether this latest batch of rumors have any merit, I must have committed a “Serious Sin”. A sin of providing details about a woman and a man who might never have ever met. One is a man who is a US Senator, a loving father and husband who will likely be our next governor. The other are new videos of a prostitute, an indisputable liar, perhaps a serial liar, whose life story is so rife with inconsistencies and falsehoods, that her words have very little value. Worse, anyone caught even raising the specter of uncertainty in the Senator’s armor is vilified.
So, indeed, I am sorry for this “serious sin” of not following the script.
However, there are some points needing to be made in defense of those attacks against Berry, Clancy Dubos, Dardenne, Angelle, me and others who have made public comments about this issue (whether self-serving or not), that are being viewed as despicable and desperate. They are:
1. The information being presented this week, again, very late in the campaign season, goes well beyond the prior information that was publicly available. It is not the same story, which, that on its face, raises questions of credibility. This is roughly an hour worth of videos of inconsistent testimony by a difficult-to-believe woman, who claims what seems to be the ludicrous—an emotional relationship, a child and man urging an abortion. Not just any man, but one with a 100% voting record against taking a baby’s life. (Incidentally, Berry just released a second batch of video interviews of the prostitute’s friend, who under disguise in fear of retribution, claims she was made aware of Vitter’s relationship with Ellis. Also, The Canal Street Madam, in another video, claims she had heard back then of the rumor that Vitter was having a prostitute in the quarter). Thus, the new information having been presented into the public domain, albeit seemingly ludicrous and inconsistent bears discussion and refutation, both because it has been re-presented in an election season, but, at the last moment which automatically should be viewed through the lens of likely smear opportunism.
2. She apparently did pass a lie detector test, despite statements to the contrary, concerning some of her claims.
3. The Senator has ably run away from the controversy, defying all odds against his political rebound. To wit: He cleverly has only made a veiled reference to his complicity by claiming a “serious sin”. This vagary has allowed his supporters and some in the media to assert that he did nothing wrong and did not commit a crime, because he never said that he did. He has never answered questions like other politicians have--including freakster Democrat Anthony Weiner. He ran away from the media after the initial controversy. He even had his attorneys try to quash the subpoena for him to testify and then was ready to take the 5th Amendment. The defense against self-incrimination is his constitutional right provided to everyone American. However, not every American is a US Senator or a gubernatorial candidate. Thus, although it is late in the campaign season, the new allegations and his new responses, revoke the past. They remind us that while he is making fighting-crime an important plank in his platform, he has presented reasons the claim might be dubious. Louisiana is in substantial need for all witnesses of all crimes to risk their lives and those of their families, to uphold the ever-so-fragile criminal justice system. Over the past few weeks, as the prostitution issue became more of a campaign issue, Vitter continued to dodge, the image of his doing so to save his political hide is dwarfed by those brave people who take the oath to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth—despite the risk of street revenge. His evasion continued even today after the recent video droppings. Instead of fielding questions and putting matters to rest, his team was armed with opposition research—a letter from the prostitute to the Judge refuting some of her facts. They knew this was coming and were ready. While an election proceeds, instead of facing the voters, he launched a Clinton-like "attack the messenger", with information secretively released to the media designed to further damage the woman’s veracity. Instead of allowing the voters see the candidates publicly tested under fire, he has chosen to do the Vitter recipe for survival, ignore, run and it shall all pass with time.
4. Indeed, and again, the prostitute Wendy Ellis, has extremely questionable character and credibility questions and so her statements must be tested under the most serious crucible of scrutiny. However, as an attorney and law professor, despite Vitter’s recent pathetic utterance that he doesn’t know what Revised Statute 14 is (the Louisiana criminal statute), when questioned about whether he ever committed a crime and violated RS 14, he should know one thing, for certain. Once a potential witness is deemed to be competent and material and their statements relevant, they testify. The credibility of their statements are viewed and determined by the trier of fact. They are not disqualified because their credibility is greatly compromised. Wendy Ellis, with all of her moral warts, under the goal posts of a campaign prank, made a new statement of facts. Those facts deserve public scrutiny, under the obvious crucible of a last-minute dirty trick. Those presenting that information should not be blasted and condemned by offering the information up for debate. In fact, that debate would include the prospect that a campaign or campaigns might be behind the new presentation of information. Thus, with the right presentation of facts, those proving the public is being manipulated might be rewarded with an angry backlash against campaign chicanery. But to pretend such victory without presentation of facts, is as false and as hollow as a new scandal worth of scurrilous claims.
5. I left the most important, for last. It is, to me, the most serious element of this entire equation. I’ve asked myself--how can I possibly allow the continued discussion of what could be “slander, lies and falsehoods”--to be perpetuated. After all, she is a lying slut, out for money and a criminal, who of all things, was convicted of crimes against veracity. Moreover, how can I possibly take the her words, those of the Canal Street Madam and others associated with her, against the word of a US Senator. After all, whether one agrees with his politics, he is a man who has dedicated himself to public duty, for the State of Louisiana and for the United States. Arguably, he will continue to do so, if elected governor. Despite his 2007 admission, he is a family man, his wife accepts him, his kids adore him, and the social conservatives, the “Family Values” contingents have forgiven and support him, so how can anyone bring up such questionable claims by such misfits? Here is my answer: If I believe that credibility is important in selecting our next governor, if I believe that trust in personal life leads to trusting someone in public life, if I don’t want to condone behavior that disrupts our society basic bonds, if I want to ensure that the next leader is someone who can enforce the laws without any diminution or calls of double-standards, then I must, at least, ask myself, is it possible, just possible, that a part of her story is true? Is it possible that she did not give birth to Vitter’s baby, that he did not tell her to have an abortion, did not have a romantic relationship with her, yet, did, engage in the act of paying a prostitute, maybe just once (an event that would have had criminal consequences) despite his constant virulent negations that all of the rumors are false, slanders and lies?
Is it possible that a fallen woman who has the slither of credibility, if any, could possibly be telling the truth about an event or events involving a man whose own veracity she could never match?
My response, and it is indeed one of great caution—yes.
Despite his protestations, David Vitter, knew he had a prostitution problem. In 2002, former Governor David Treen orchestrated an investigation into a rumor. He apparently heard about Vitter and Wendy, who at the time, was using the name Wendy Cortez. Vincent Bruno, a loyal Treen supporter, had challenged Vitter over the radio, in fact, did so on Jeff Crouere’s WTIX radio station. In 2003, Vitter, who was then a US Congressman, after defeating Treen, was talking about running for Governor. According to a media reports, he decided not to do so, citing family issues. The allegations against Vitter centered around his alleged behavior that while a State Representative and possibly even when he became a US Congressperson, circa 1998-2002 (depending upon what version she is offering today), he became compromised. In 2004, while running for US Senate, the issue persisted.
In 2007, as a US Senator, he was cited and outed. His cell phone was found on the phone list of the DC Madam, which controversy, led to his “Serious sin” admission.
“Telephone records released by Deborah Jeane Palfrey indicate she placed calls that were answered by Vitter's Washington phone on five occasions while Vitter was in the House, from 1999 through 2001. On four of those five days, the House was in session and Vitter participated in every roll call vote. http://www.cbsnews.com/news/dc-madam-called-vitter-during-votes/
Thus, keep in mind, Vitter’s DC Madam Palfrey activities occurred roughly the same time period as the alleged-Ellis encounter(s). Why is it such a stretch to assume that he would not have engaged in paid sex with Ellis?
To me, the issue is one of credibility, not really that of Ellis, although, hers should absolutely be called into question. In 2004, when running for US Senate, Vitter, was accused by a member of the Republican Steering committee, of the relationship with the New Orleans prostitute. He responded then, “"absolutely and completely untrue" and that it was "just crass Louisiana politics."
In 2007, when caught, he denies the New Orleans allegations as not being true.
Recently, he again denies any relationship to Wendy Ellis. His campaign calls the recent batch of information "desperate".
Indeed, it is easy to take him at his words if you want him to be governor and it is easy to ridicule anyone who might question his words. In 2003, he chose not to run for governor. He and his wife had undisclosed personal problems. Only Wendy Vitter and her husband know what those problems might have been. Probably, only the two of them know what the “serious sin” was and if indeed, he was being honest to us over the years, denying the New Orleans prostitute allegations. Only the two of them know the facts as his wife looks us into our eyes in her recent TV commercial and tells us to trust her and her words about her husband.
Wendy and David Vitter have taken what she, her husband and his supporters insist is a personal matter of broken trust and forgiveness and morphed it into one in which she wants all of us to believe that when David Vitter speaks, he will be transparent and trusted on public policy affecting us all.
Wendy Vitter also wants us to know that her husband has courage. Perhaps he does. But, the continuous denials and running and hiding from questions over the years, raises serious doubt.
Back in 2004, David Vitter denied a relationship with the New Orleans prostitute. The conclusions are one of the two following: When accused in 2004, he had not a paid-encounter(s)-relationship with Wendy Ellis but did have one with the DC Madam group; Or, he did have an paid-sexual encounter with Ellis and similar activities at the nation’s capitol shortly afterwards.
Either way, saying in 2004 that the New Orleans prostitution was "absolutely and completely untrue" and "just crass Louisiana politics”, is most telling. In 2004, he had a history with prostitutes, if anything the DC variety. Had the claim been made then, without supporting documentation, that he was involved somehow with the DC Madam, would he have called it “just crass Louisiana politics?”.
Unfortunately, for Vitter, despite the very questionable timing, he is not a man without his own serious credibility problem about a very related issue in both time and activity. As a result, despite all the clamor that this is recycling an old “unfounded scandal”, by those not viewing any of the purported evidence, these new claims, bearing new videos of suspicious witnesses who just might be telling a truth or two, or in the case of Ms. Ellis, (incredible acting), there is every reason and purpose to question everybody’s veracity and not just those who defend themselves by claiming others are engaging in “just crass Louisiana politics”.