Kennedy To Boustany: I’ll Talk About Your Hooker Problem Whenever I Damn Well Please

So the Senate race is starting to get nasty, as you might have expected, and as you might have feared if you’re a Republican, the nastiness is among Republicans who are tearing each other apart and leaving the Democrats unscathed.

That’s a familiar story, no?

At issue between John Kennedy and Charles Boustany is the Murder In The Bayou controversy, wherein Boustany is accused by investigative journalist and book author Ethan Brown of having consorted with now-dead prostitutes who fell victim to a serial killer in Jennings. Kennedy seized on the allegations, which Boustany says are lies, to question Boustany’s character – and Boustany’s camp is livid about it. So much so that Boustany’s camp lit up Kennedy earlier this week for spreading the story around.

And yesterday, Kennedy essentially told Boustany to go jump in a lake – or perhaps a bayou…

State Treasurer John Kennedy said he won’t back off asking about allegations that his opponent in the U.S. Senate race was allegedly involved with prostitutes.

And if it’s all lies, as Congressman Charles Boustany contends, then he should sue the publisher of the book, Scribner / Simon & Schuster Inc., Kennedy said moments after chairing a State Bond Commission meeting Thursday morning.

It was the first time Kennedy personally addressed Boustany’s contention that he had deliberately spread the alleged reports of the allegations made in the book. Boustany said Wednesday the claims in the book that he frequented Jennings prostitutes are “scurrilous lies.”

Regardless, Kennedy said, the accusations go to Boustany’s character and in a campaign for the U.S. Senate such questions are reasonable. “He’s saying I can’t talk about the issue that goes directly to his character? Of course I can talk about the issue, everybody is talking about this issue,” he said.

“The most prestigious publisher in the world has alleged that he was serviced by not one, not two, not three but four prostitutes and has cheated on his wife. He says it’s a lie. I didn’t write that. Simon and Schuster did. He needs to sue them if it’s not true,” Kennedy said.

Kennedy’s camp has taken the position that Boustany hasn’t sued the publisher because if he did so he’d have to face the discovery process and that if he did consort with the dead hookers in question that might go badly for him. We’re not really convinced that’s true; first of all, Boustany says he’s keeping his legal options open and these allegations are fresh enough that perhaps he has a lawyer drawing up a complaint right now. Not to mention that it’s entirely possible, if not likely, that Boustany would file a suit as a way to formally declare the allegations are false, and then not actually do anything to further that lawsuit while the campaign is going on – and that way he wouldn’t have to worry about discovery until after the election is over. Since we’re only about seven weeks out from Election Day that timeline isn’t problematic for the congressman from Lafayette.

Meanwhile, Mark Ballard at the Advocate had this…

The publisher of the book, in a statement Thursday, stood behind the author.

“While we do not comment on our editorial process, Scribner is confident that Ethan Brown’s Murder in the Bayou is a responsibly reported account by an experienced journalist.” Brian Belfiglio, vice president and director of publicity at Scribner / Simon & Schuster Inc., wrote in an email Thursday.

What to look for as this continues: first, whether anyone comes forward to corroborate Brown’s reporting. If someone credible shows up to say he or she knows Boustany consorted with the dead hookers in question, or other hookers, then Boustany is sunk. Second, assuming the first doesn’t happen, is the question of whether the public is moved by all this. Hookers and politicians was a thing last year in the governor’s race; how much of an appetite for that kind of discussion still exists? If the answer is none, then Kennedy might be making the mistake that ruins him despite what you would expect would be a sound political strategy. Third, what if both of the above are correct? Does that provide an opening for John Fleming or one of the other Republicans in the race to catch fire? Or fourth, does it present the possibility of what seems highly unlikely, but Mike Bayham warned about a few weeks ago, that both Foster Campbell and Caroline Fayard could sneak in? The fifth possibility, of course, is that evidence surfaces showing that Brown’s reporting is flawed; either due to bias, or his having been fed lies or what have you. If that’s the case, the effect would be of Possibility #2 on steroids where Kennedy is concerned.

We think the fourth possibility is exceedingly remote, and the second, which triggers the third and fourth, isn’t all that likely either. Still, it’s possible that kicking an opponent when he’s down the way Kennedy seems to be doing could offer disappointing political returns. He needs to be careful about how far he takes this.



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