Former Lawyer of the Day Louisiana Senator David Vitter is having a bad week, and it’s only Tuesday. The Legal Times reported yesterday that he may have to testify in the scandalous “D.C. Madam” trial. Vitter confessed last year to being a client of the escort service run by the so-called “D.C. Madam,” Deborah Jeane Palfrey.
A congressman testifying in a prostitution trial is going to make headlines, even with Eliot Spitzer around to monopolize the prostitution scandal spotlight. Vitter has made it worse by committing “a hit and run” while running away from the media, asking questions about the trial. From the Gonzales Weekly Citizen:
A car carrying U.S. Sen. David Vitter ran into a No Parking sign in the Gonzales Police Department parking lot Monday morning as the senator was attempting to evade members of the media, including the Gonzales Weekly Citizen, following a Town Hall forum event at Gonzales City Hall.
No one was injured in the incident, but the car – in which Vitter was a passenger – sped away from the scene with visible, but light damage following the wreck.
The sign was encased in an orange safety cone and cemented into the driveway. The sign did not appear to be damaged in the incident.
The scandal surrounding New York Governor Eliot Spitzer, who allegedly patronized prostitutes, raises an interesting issue. It surfaced in some of the comments to yesterday’sposts, and it’s raised in the defense of Governor Spitzer offered by his former law professor, Alan Dershowitz, on CNN:
“I don’t think he should face criminal charges for federal charges for the actual sex act itself…. I know nothing about the financial aspects of it. But this is a traditional state misdemeanor case. And, if anything, he should be charged with a class-B misdemeanor, which is a very, very slight offense, because being a john to an adult prostitute who was making $3,000 to $4,000 or $5,000 sounds to me very much like a victimless crime.”
This raises the question: Should prostitution even be a crime?
Of course, some of the outrage over Governor Spitzer’s case relates to potential hypocrisy. As New York Attorney General, he prosecuted prostitution rings, and condemned them in harsh language. But setting aside the hypocrisy issue, should what he’s accused of doing be a criminal offense?
Or should prostitution perhaps be decriminalized? Take our poll:
The Hostess with the Mostest (Hos), alleged D.C. madam Deborah Jeane Palfrey, continues to make news. First, she’s advancing an interesting new defense. From Big Head DC:
Deborah Jeane Palfrey, the accused “DC Madam,” filed a memo with DC’s U.S. District Court today, detailing her plans to move forward with a “Honey Pot” defense, under the representation of lawyer Montgomery Blair Sibley.
The memo alleges that “the United States Government has been directly or indirectly benefiting from the operation of her service by monitoring her customers and is thus equitably barred from prosecuting her,” according to Sibley.
And government officials were “benefiting from the operation of her service” in other ways, too.
Speaking of which, here’s more bad news for Sen. David Vitter. From the AP:
A former New Orleans prostitute who says she had an affair with Sen. David Vitter has passed a lie-detector test and will provide details of the four-month relationship at a press conference Tuesday, according to Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt.
Wendy Cortez, whose real name is Wendy Ellis, says she had a sexual relationship with Vitter, R-La., in 1999, when he was a state legislator.
We’ve appended short updates to the original posts. But in case you didn’t see them, here are postscripts to the stories of two Louisiana lawyers with possibly problematic sexual appetites: Senator David Vitter, and recent UGA law grad Philip Pirie.
With respect to Senator Vitter, a source notes:
Check out this NOLA.com post. The owner of the Canal Street brothel in New Orleans came forward to say David Vitter had been a customer. Apparently she decided to speak out because of the bad press he has been getting. She wanted to clear his name because he was not into drugs, not into kinky sex, was nice to the hookers, etc.
With defenders like this, who needs attackers?
With respect to Philip Pilie, a tipster tells us:
“Apparently Philip is still planning on taking the bar Saturday. He was also engaged. Don’t know if it is still on or not.”
Here’s a quick follow-up on yesterday’s Lawyer of the Day — Senator David Vitter (R-LA), who recently confessed to having been a client of the escort service run by the so-called “D.C. Madam,” Deborah Jeane Palfrey.
Check out this video, put together by the TPM crew. These were our favorite parts:
1. Vitter’s daughter: “Way to move it, Dad!”
2. Sen. Vitter: “In life’s most important moments, we’re not Republicans or Democrats. We’re parents.”
Or, more accurately, philandering spouses.
3. The senator’s wife, Wendy Vitter (also noted by various commenters):
“I’m a lot more like Lorena Bobbitt than Hillary. If he does something like that, I’m walking away with one thing, and it’s not alimony, trust me.”
Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) apologized last night after his telephone number appeared in the phone records of the woman dubbed the “D.C. Madam,” making him the first member of Congress to become ensnared in the high-profile case.
The statement containing Vitter’s apology said his telephone number was included on phone records of Pamela Martin and Associates dating from before he ran for the Senate in 2004….
“This was a very serious sin in my past for which I am, of course, completely responsible,” Vitter, 46, said in a statement….
This is not the first time Vitter has found himself in a sticky situation:
During his Senate campaign, Vitter was accused by a member of the Louisiana Republican State Central Committee of carrying on a lengthy affair with a prostitute in New Orleans’s French Quarter. In a radio interview, Vitter then called the allegation “absolutely and completely untrue” and dismissed it as “just crass Louisiana politics.”
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