U.S. Rep. Charles Boustany has dropped his defamation lawsuit over a book that alleges the Republican Louisiana congressman was involved with prostitutes who were later killed.
Boustany sued the author and publisher of “Murder in the Bayou” in October, when he was in a tight competition for a U.S. Senate seat. Boustany lost his Senate bid in November and ended his lawsuit this month.
The congressman’s lawyer, Jimmy Faircloth, confirmed the lawsuit dismissal Tuesday. He said Boustany felt “it would probably be best for all concerned for him not to proceed with the lawsuit.”
Author Ethan Brown says he’s pleased Boustany ended the lawsuit against him.
The lawsuit never really had any chance of success. As a public figure Boustany would have had to prove malice or at least reckless disregard for the truth in order to get anywhere with a defamation claim against Brown, and whether the allegations in Brown’s book were lies or not there was no way Boustany was going to prove his case.
In the book, two basic levels of allegations were made. First, that Boustany’s constituent-services representative Martin Guillory, or Big G as he was known, owned a whorehouse in Jennings that was frequented by some or all of the eight murdered prostitutes whose deaths Brown investigated as the subject of Murder In The Bayou.
And there is little dispute this is true. It’s the reason Boustany cut Big G loose after the book came out. As a political bombshell this isn’t the worst thing to have to endure as a candidate, but it isn’t something anybody would want, either.
The second level of allegations would have been easier to sue on. In those, Brown quotes unnamed sources to say that not only was Boustany aware of Big G’s side business, but that he’d actually been to the whorehouse in question and even had a client relationship with one or more of the ladies of the evening plying their trade there – even going so far as to say one or more of the murdered prostitutes had been involved with the congressman.
There is much less evidence to support the deeper allegations, and they seem a bit farfetched. That being said, Brown said the allegations originated from reports of a multiagency task force investigating the murders discussed in the book. In other words, he has source material for them which he could use as a defense.
Boustany’s suit was mostly a public-relations vehicle to dispel the political effect of the allegations in the book, and in that it probably accomplished its task. He placed a solid third in the U.S. Senate primary Nov. 8, coming just two points short of the Democrat Foster Campbell, who finished second behind John Kennedy – the eventual winner. It seems the allegations in the book didn’t have much of an effect on his campaign, and perhaps the suit was a reason why.
The expectation is that Boustany will be nosing around Clay Higgins, who was elected to fill the 3rd District seat Boustany vacated to run for the Senate, and in due time he’ll begin running against Higgins to recapture that seat in 2018.