BATON ROUGE, La. -- U.S. Senate candidate Rep. Charles Boustany adamantly denied anonymous allegations he was involved with prostitutes and blasted fellow candidate state Treasurer John Kennedy and his campaign for spreading the rumors, calling Kennedy a "political predator with no regard for the truth."
Boustany, R-Lafayette, addressed the allegations published in the new book "Murder in the Bayou" by Ethan Brown on a conference call press conference. The book examines the murders of eight prostitutes in Jefferson Davis Parish in the mid-2000s.
On Tuedsay, Kennedy, also a Republican, said in a statement: "I want to be very clear that my campaign played absolutely no role in creating this story.''
Kennedy campaign spokesman Lionel Rainey issued another statement Wednesday: "The Kennedy campaign did not write the book and did not publish the book. The book speaks for itself. The only reason the Kennedy campaign commented was because the Boustany campaign blamed the book on us and the other Senate opponents."
But Boustany would have none of it, saying Kennedy or his "operatives" peddled the story to media throughout the state "to try to save the twilight of his own political career."
"John Kennedy has proven Louisiana can't trust him," Boustany said. "I'm very confident Louisiana will not reward a sleazy politician."
Nevertheless, Boustany admitted the accusations had shaken him and his family.
"This week my family and I are victims of false, blatant, scurrilous lies," the congressman said. "To have my integrity and character called into question based on despicable lies is hurtful. I'm really hurt by it and I'm angry."
The book doesn't claim Boustany had any involvement in the murders but said one of his former staffers helped operate a hotel in Jennings allegedly frequented by the prostitutes and the congressman used their services.
Boustany conceded Tuesday former staffer Martin Guillory admitted to having an interest in the hotel, but the congressman said he didn't know that until advance copies of the book were released last week.
"I didn't know of his affiliation with this place of business; I think Mr. Guillory hid that from us," Boustany said.
The congressman said Guillory, whom he described as a field representative, admitted his affiliation when confronted last week and resigned. Boustany said he didn't know Guillory before he was hired as a low-level staff member.
Boustany said his former congressional press secretary and current campaign spokesman Jack Pandol was contacted by the book's author in May with questions that Boustany considered "crazy" at the time. "Questions like, 'Did you murder somebody?'" Boustany said. "Of course not."
Boustany said he hasn't decided whether he will take legal action against the author or the publisher of the book.
Greg Hilburn covers state politics for the USA TODAY Network of Louisiana. Follow him on Twitter @GregHilburn1
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