U.S. Rep. Charles Boustany, R-Lafayette, has filed suit against publisher Simon & Schuster and author Ethan Brown, three weeks after publication of a book that suggests the congressman solicited prostitutes at a Jefferson Davis Parish motel.
“Dr. Boustany hired me to defend his integrity and the honor of his family, and that’s what I intend to do, aggressively,” said Jimmy Faircloth, an Alexandria attorney and former counsel for Gov. Bobby Jindal. “The law does not allow someone to slander another person to sell books, not even public officials.”
Brown’s book “Murder in the Bayou” probes the deaths of eight Louisiana women whose bodies were found from 2005-2009 in or around Jennings, the parish seat, located on Interstate 10 about 35 miles west of Lafayette. Investigation linked the women through connections including poverty, mental illness, drug abuse and prostitution.
In the book, published Sept. 13, Brown writes in a chapter entitled “Coda: Boustany and the Boudreaux Inn,” that at least two unidentified sex workers and an unnamed witness to a criminal investigation of the cases suggested Boustany frequented the Jennings restaurant and motel, the Boudreaux Inn, for prostitution. A former Boustany employee, field representative Martin Guillory of Church Point, operated the Boudreaux Inn for many years, Brown wrote.
One woman said Boustany, a medical doctor, “had money and he had the dope.” Another suggested that one of the murdered workers was worried about her relationship with Boustany because “all he gotta do is say one thing to one person and it’ll be taken care of.”
No living, named person in the book says Boustany sought out prostitutes at the Boudreaux Inn. Suzette Bouley Istre of Jennings, a longtime manager at the dining spot and motel, said in the book she recalls one instance when Boustany was there for what appeared to be a political meeting.
“He came and met a lot of people; he talked and he answered a lot of their questions,” Istre said. “He didn’t stay long because he was campaigning from town to town that day.”
Brown writes that while he finds the prostitution reports "credible," Boustany's "accusers can be challenged.”
In the suit, filed Monday in Louisiana’s 15th Judicial Circuit Court in Lafayette, Faircloth said, “Mr. Brown either made up the story or he’s peddling political garbage that he knew or should have known is false. It’s easy to spread hateful lies about others, but it’s not easy to defend it under oath while facing the prospects of perjury. This lie will be exposed and those responsible will be held accountable.”
The suit says the publisher "had serious doubts" about the allegations' truthfulness.
The suit says the book was released "at the height of the Senate race" to maximize the charges' "sensationalism."