Louisiana Sen. David Vitter is again under fire from adult content publisher Larry Flynt. Flynt restated his claim today that Vitter patronized a Louisiana prostitution service in 1999.
The Hustler magazine publisher called a news conference today and brought a former prostitute into his Beverly Hills office to publicly name Vitter as her former client.
Wendy Ellis had previously told her story to reporters under a pseudonym, but today, she sat alongside Flynt at his ornate desk, and recounted how she was paid for sex by Vitter two to three times a week for a period of four months in 1999. Flynt also provided reporters with results of a polygraph examination which supports Ellis's claim.
Ellis says she was a heavy drug user during the period she claims to have had sex with the then-state representative, and did not know or care that Vitter was a public official. She says she is now off drugs and hopes telling her story publicly will force Vitter to resign from the Senate. "Why do we want to have a man who is representing our country lie continuously?" she asked.
In July, Vitter apologized for a "very serious sin in my past," acknowledging that his telephone number was among those found in the records of a Washington escort service that federal investigators say was a cover for a prostitution ring. Vitter's involvement with the D.C. service was first revealed by Flynt, who uncovered the phone records as part of an ongoing investigation into the conduct of Washington officials.
In his July statement, Vitter denied patronizing Louisiana prostitutes.
Though the senator was at work in Washington today, his office did not respond to requests for comment from ABC News. This morning, Vitter questioned Gen. David Petraeus at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing.
Flynt still aims to force Vitter's resignation from the Senate. He says that Vitter's self-portrayal as a family values agenda official makes him a fair target.
"I think that bothered her more than anything, that he was being such a hypocrite," said Flynt of Ellis' motivation for going public. "If you are going to throw stones, you shouldn't live in a glass house, and that's what it's all about."
Flynt employed polygraphist Edward Gelb to administer Ellis' lie detector examination. "He was totally convinced, after administering the test to her, that she was being totally truthful," said Flynt of Ellis' results. "I don't think you'd get the same results with Vitter."
Gelb issued a statement through Flynt that polygraph results found Ellis was "telling the truth" when she answered "yes" to the question: "Did you have a sexual relationship with David Vitter for at least four months through a New Orleans escort service?"
Though she refused to say whether Flynt had paid her for her statement, Ellis claimed that money was not a motivating factor in her decision to name Vitter.
Flynt took out a full page add in the Washington Post in June that offered $1 million to anyone who could document "a sexual encounter" with a high ranking government official.
Ellis was not offered the million-dollar reward from Hustler for her story. "Wendy would have gotten a lot of money on this deal, but she wasn't the first source to out Vitter," explained Flynt. "The pie gets smaller as you go along."
"This is not about the money with me," said Ellis. "This is about being honest. ... I don't want him to apologize to me, I want him to apologize to everybody he lied to. ... don't call me a liar."
Ellis said she feels sympathy for Vitter's wife, but that did not deter her campaign against the senator. "She deserves to know the truth," Ellis said of Vitter's wife Wendy. "She deserves to know that he is a liar."
The former prostitute will also appear in a pictorial in the January issue of Hustler.
"I'm going to take care of Wendy," responded Flynt to repeated questions about Ellis' compensation from Hustler. "We are working on a book deal."
Flynt warns that Washington officials should continue to fear a call from his office. His staff is still scouring the phone records of Deborah Jean Palfrey — the so-called D.C. Madam, with whom Vitter was initially linked — for more evidence against top government officials.
Flynt said he still has 3,000 phone numbers among Palfrey's records to check out.
"We've got a lot more coming," claimed Flynt. "There is one more gay senator or congressman, and he also votes against matters of self-interest all the time. ... I think he should go, he's at the top of the agenda now."