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Vitter accidentally admitted relationship with call girl in 2002
David Edwards and Jason Rhyne
Published: Wednesday September 12, 2007


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Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) made a potentially Freudian slip-up while taking part in a New Orleans radio interview five years ago.

MSNBC's Dan Abrams, who hosted New Orleans call girl Wendy Cortez and Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt on his program Tuesday evening, played an excerpt from a July 2002 broadcast of Ringside, a political radio show during which Sen. Vitter was confronted by a caller to the program about a possible relationship with Cortez.

The caller, identified as "Flaming Liberal," challenged Vitter to “sign under the penalty of perjury an affidavit saying you have never had an extramarital affair and you have never known, met or been in the company of one Wendy Cortez.”

"Thank you for repeating all these vicious rumors that my political enemies are trying to bandy about," Vitter had responded on the show, adding, apparently mistakenly, that "those rumors are absolutely true," and continuing,"they really don't belong in any political campaign and I've stated very clearly that they're lies..."

"Wasn't so clear, based on what he just said," Abrams remarked after playing the clip, as Cortez, who has accused the Louisiana senator of having a sexual relationship with her, laughed. Cortez and Flynt appeared with Abrams following a Tuesday press conference announcing that a polygraph test had confirmed the call girl was telling the truth.

In another clip from the same radio show available at Ringside's website, a caller named "Tom" asked Vitter to appear on air with Vincent Bruno, a Republican State Central Committee member from Louisiana who had earlier alleged that the senator was involved with Cortez.

Vitter responded by making clear that he would not appear with Bruno, and called him a “thug and a liar"--a charge for which senator formally apologized the next day after Bruno threatened a lawsuit, Jeff Crouere, who conducted the interview writes.

Call girl is '100 percent positive'

"It was purely a sexual relationship," Cortez told Dan Abrams, adding that her interaction with Vitter spanned four months. "[Vitter] came to the escort service which I was working for at the time, and the appointment was set up and that's how we met," she said.

Asked by Abrams if she was sure it was the senator, she replied "100 percent positive."

Cortez's polygraph examination, which was arranged and paid for by Flynt, was conducted by former American Polygraph Association president Edward Gelb. The test asked whether she was telling the truth about the existence of a relationship, and whether it lasted for as long as she purported--questions to which Gelb says Cortez responded truthfully.

"You kind of overlook a guy having one mistress," the self-proclaimed 'smut-peddler' whose magazine exposed Sen. Vitter's connection to a D.C. escort service earlier this year, said. "But a guy having a half a dozen, you know--a little bit overboard."

Comparing Vitter, who remains in office, to embattled GOP Senator Larry Craig, who has announced his resignation plans, Flynt argued that there is a double standard among Republicans.

"It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out what's going on. Idaho votes 80 percent republican and they've got a Republican governor now...either way they're going to keep that seat. But Vitter is on shaky ground in Louisiana and [Republicans] want to give him a pass."

"All my life, I've been called a liar," said Cortez in response to a question about why she chose to come forward. "I have integrity and I have dignity and I have self respect today and I'm not a liar. Who cares if [Vitter] did it, be honest. Tell the truth," she said.

The following video is from MSNBC's Dan Abrams Live, broadcast on September 11.