Update (10/17/2015): Unless and until there is more evidence provided, it appears as if Ms. Ellis is not telling the truth. Wendy Ellis- also known as Wendy Williams, Wendy Yow, and Wendy Cortez- has been convicted of crimes of dishonesty and once served a portion of a ten year prison sentence related to fraud. Furthermore, she asserted to a judge that she was being treated for cancer in 1999 and that she was involved in a serious relationship with a Florida man in 2000, which directly contradict the claims she made in the interview. These are important facts that were not disclosed in the original report. Curiously, these facts only came to light after Jason Brad Berry of The American Zombie published his interview with Ms. Ellis, and the legal documents provided to the media about Ms. Ellis suggest that someone had previously conducted opposition research about her.
Jason Brad Berry stands by his report and claims there is more information forthcoming. I respect Mr. Berry and have worked with him in the past, but I am compelled to note that, until additional information is provided, I believe this particular story is deeply problematic. Gambit decided to pull its original report on Mr. Berry’s interview. I decided to keep mine, but I caution readers that Ms. Ellis is a convicted criminal with a penchant for attracting publicity by making outrageous claims.
Update (10/16/2015): This is worth noting:
Wendy Ellis claims she has a terminal disease- lupus- and that’s why she was motivated to come forward with the allegations that Sen Vitter asked her to have an abortion. Lupus has a 10 year survival rate of 90%, and more than 80% of people with lupus live a normal lifespan.
She is also a serial criminal with a troubling record.
Vitter himself has repeatedly and directly claimed these are lies, in 2004, 2007, and again today.
The lede is clearly about her allegations that Vitter asked her to have an abortion, but even Hustler Magazine, which is not exactly known for its journalistic ethics, refused to publish those allegations. It’s unclear what they asked her in the lie detector test, but considering the allegations published just today, I doubt they had much to do with Vitter asking her to have an abortion or paying her $5,000 a month.
It is also worth noting: $5,000 a month is $60,000 a year. Over the course of their alleged three year relationship, that’d be $180,000. Today, Vitter’s entire net worth is $1.6M, and at the time, it was much lower.
I don’t like Sen. Vitter’s politics or his history, but there are major problems with Ellis’s story.
Larry Flynt offered $1M to any woman who could prove she had an affair with Sen. Vitter, and for some reason, they never ran Ellis’s “full” story, which has definitely changed throughout the years.
I believe she slept with him, but I’d be cautious about taking her word as golden, which is why I was careful to include the Senator’s prior denials in my article today.
Wendy Ellis, a woman who claims to be U.S. Sen. David Vitter’s former mistress, broke her silence for the first time in eight years, alleging that she and Vitter carried on a three-year affair when she worked as an escort in New Orleans and that Vitter asked her to have an abortion after discovering she was pregnant with his child. She claims she decided to keep the child and put it up for adoption.[vimeo https://vimeo.com/142703673]
Ellis also alleges that she rented an apartment directly across the street from a brothel and that, contrary to previous reports, their relationship was personal and intimate. According to Ellis, Vitter paid her $5,000 a month and gave her gifts, including a ring she continues to wear.
On Oct. 13, Ellis sat down for an extended, hour-long interview with Jason Brad Berry, the online investigative journalist who first exposed the corruption of former New Orleans Mayor C. Ray Nagin.
Berry uploaded the interview onto his website, American Zombie, on Saturday afternoon, only one week before Louisiana voters head to the polls. Vitter is currently in a tight race for Louisiana governor and has recently been sliding in the polls.[vimeo https://vimeo.com/142561034]
Vitter has previously denied the “New Orleans rumors,” and when Ellis originally came forward in 2007, shortly after the Senator’s name was discovered on the phone records of the D.C. Madam, Vitter’s spokesperson, Joel DiGrado, claimed that the allegations were motivated by “those looking to profit from the situation shopping all sorts of false stories.” In 2004, a caller in a talk radio show asked Vitter if he had ever had an affair with Ellis, who was then known as Wendy Cortez. ”I think you know that that allegation is absolutely and completely untrue,” Vitter said. “Unfortunately, that’s just crass Louisiana politics, now that I am running for the Senate. I have made that clear that it is all completely untrue. And, it’s obviously politically motivated.”
But Ellis, who had an exclusive contract with Hustler Magazine, passed a lie detector test, and her former boyfriend told The Times-Picayune that he had seen several pictures of Ellis and Vitter together. Ellis also claims that she revealed all of these details to Hustler years ago but that the magazine decided not to publish the full story and selectively edited the on-camera interview she conducted with them.
Ellis tells Berry that Vitter regularly showed up at her apartment with Brent Fuhrer, the assistant who was forced to resign from Vitter’s office after being accused on stabbing and choking his girlfriend.[vimeo https://vimeo.com/142730921]
Ellis says she decided to come forward now because she has a terminal illness and that she wanted to set the record straight. When Berry asked what she would say to Vitter today, Ellis became emotional.[vimeo https://vimeo.com/142733824]