WASHINGTON-- Senator David Vitter of Louisiana said he had sinned and was sorry, hours after Hustler magazine told him his phone number was among those disclosed by the "D.C. Madam."
The first-term Republican senator declined interview requests yesterday, and he made no public appearances in the Capitol. The night before, he'd made a startling confession in an e-mail to the Associated Press:
"This was a very serious sin in my past for which I am, of course, completely responsible. Several years ago, I asked for and received forgiveness from God and my wife in confession and marriage counseling."
Vitter, 46, and his wife, Wendy, live in the New Orleans suburb of Metairie with their four children.
He recently played a prominent role in derailing an immigration bill backed by President Bush. He also is a key supporter of former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani's presidential bid, serving as regional campaign chairman for the South.
Vitter's statement said his number was on phone records of Pamela Martin and Associates before he ran for the Senate in 2004. Federal prosecutors have accused Deborah Jeane Palfrey of racketeering by running a prostitution ring that netted more than $2 million over 13 years, beginning in 1993. She contends that her escort service was a legitimate business offering sexual fantasies. Palfrey's lawyer, Montgomery Blair Sibley, said in an interview that the call from Vitter's number to the escort service was made Feb. 27, 2001.
Vitter spent six years in the House before being elected to the Senate.
Sibley confirmed that author Dan Moldea, who is writing a book with Palfrey, discovered the number connected to Vitter in Palfrey's phone records, which she has publicly released. In an interview yesterday, Moldea said he called Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt.
In June, Flynt took out an ad in The
In a statement yesterday, Hustler said Vitter's statement was "the result of a multipronged investigation launched and run by Larry Flynt."
Vincent Bruno, a member of the Louisiana Republican State Central Committee, said yesterday that Vitter should resign "for his own good, the good of the party, and the good of his family."