New Woes For Senator Caught In Sex Scandal

Deborah Jean Palfrey, left, US Senator of Louisiana David Vitter, center and former New Orleans madam Jeanette Maier, right. AP Photo

New allegations tie Sen. David Vitter to a high-priced brothel in his hometown, one day after he publicly apologized for his connection to an alleged prostitution ring in Washington, D.C.

On Monday, Vitter acknowledged being involved with the so-called D.C. Madam, hours after Hustler magazine told him his telephone number was among those she disclosed. A day later, new revelations linked him to a former madam in New Orleans and old allegations that he frequented a former prostitute resurfaced, further clouding his political future.

Jeanette Maier on Tuesday said Vitter was once a client of the Canal Street brothel. She pleaded guilty to running the operation in 2002. Vitter won his seat in the U.S. Senate in 2004.

Saying he was a "decent guy" who appeared to be in need of company when he visited the brothel, Maier added unexpected details to a scandal enveloping the first-term Republican.

"As far as the girls coming out after seeing David, all they had was nice things to say. It wasn't all about sex. In fact, he just wanted to have somebody listen to him, you know. And I said his wife must not be listening," Maier said in an interview with The Associated Press.

Maier, known for operating a high-end brothel with her mother and daughter, told the New Orleans Times Picayune she met Vitter at a fishing rodeo where she and her prostitutes were hired to entertain local politicians.

Maier told the Times Picayune he favored one prostitute named Wendy Cortez, though she was not sure if that was the woman's legal name. Many of the women use aliases with clients.

Vitter's office did not respond to calls for comment on the latest allegations.

Federal prosecutors unveiled the existence of the $300-an-hour brothel in April 2002. It was linked to similar operations in other U.S. cities.

"It wasn't all about dirty, raunchy, crazy sex," Maier told the AP. "It was a bunch of guys coming over hanging out with the girls and having a few cocktails, and men being men."

Maier was among 17 defendants who pleaded guilty in the investigation. With all the guilty pleas, there never was a trial, and that kept under wraps a list of customers that reportedly included prominent lawyers, doctors and business professionals.

"He is a decent guy. He's not a freak. He's not using drugs. He's not using taxpayers money to buy hookers or drugs or anything like that. He's just a decent, normal guy," she said.

Vinny Mosca, Maier's attorney in the brothel case, said in a statement late Tuesday that she never told him about Vitter being a client and that his name never came up in the case.

"Throughout the time that I represented Jeannette Maier in the Canal Street brothel case, the name of David Vitter or any code name for him never came up," Mosca said. "It was not contained in any evidence in the case, including in any book, list or document seized by the federal government or given to the federal government by Ms. Maier."

Mosca also said Vitter's name "was never picked up on any government wiretap nor is it listed in any transcript or court document as part of the Canal Street brothel case."

Maier told the Times Picayune she came forward to help Vitter, after seeing the one-dimensional representation of him in the wake of the D.C. Madam announcement.

"I want his wife to see what a wonderful man he is," she told the Times Picayune. "Men do things like this by peer pressure, by the good ole boys club.

"I want his kids to know he's a good father," she continued. "Just because he had sex out of wedlock -- so what? At least he stayed with his kids. How many men leave their children and wives and don't give a s**t what happens to them, and then their wives become prostitutes so they can feed their children?"
  • Joel Roberts

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