The frontrunner in Louisiana’s U.S. Senate race said Thursday that he had no plans to stop asking questions about allegations that one of his opponents was involved with prostitutes.
State Treasurer John Kennedy, a Republican, said that it was legitimate to address the allegations about Rep. Charles Boustany (R-LA), which were laid out in a book published Tuesday by Simon & Schuster imprint Scribner. Boustany has accused Kennedy of pushing the claims in the book, “Murder in the Bayou,” in order to damage his reputation ahead of Election Day.
“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,” Kennedy told reporters on Thursday, according to The New Orleans Advocate.
“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,” Kennedy said. “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.”
In “Murder in the Bayou,” journalist Ethan Brown reported that three anonymous sources alleged Boustany had sexual relationships with several of eight sex workers who were found murdered in Jefferson Davis County between 2005-2009. Brown said there was “no evidence” that Boustany had anything to do with the murders.
Boustany’s campaign has denounced the allegations as “total lies,” and the GOP is keeping his legal options option.
“The publisher is completely irresponsible,” Boustany said, according to The Advocate. “This is just complete tabloid nonsense. There’s no basis in truth or reality … You’d think there would be more integrity and responsibility and accountability here.”
Brown and Scribner have maintained that the reporting is legitimate, and that he did his due diligence in reaching out to Boustany’s staff before the book’s publication.
“I stand by my reporting in the book, including the three questions I posed to Boustany and the responses I received from his communications director,” Brown said in a statement to TPM.
When Brown contacted Boustany in May 2016, a spokesman said that the congressman “never had any contact with any of the eight victims.”
Scribner’s vice president and director of publicity, Brian Belfiglio, stood by Brown’s work as well.
“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,” he said in a statement emailed to TPM.