Anti-gay senator resigned this week and rumors are swirling about a gay escort scandal
It would be the equivalent of nirvana for a gay journalist a leading conservative Republican senator announces his resignation because a high-priced gay callboy had ratted him out for lots of cash.
Wow! Imagine the ramifications as the foundation of the anti-gay stronghold in the Republican Party was struck by yet another scandal in the wake of Idaho Sen. Larry Craig pleading guilty in connection with a gay sex sting arrest in an airport restroom last summer. It would crumble. I tell you, it would fall.
But alas, it appears the speculation about Sen. Trent Lott and globe-trotting San Antonio escort Benjamin Nicholas may never be confirmed, even if it is true. Larry Flynt, publisher of Hustler and the man who could hold the key to unlocking the story, may not consider it worth the expense.
Hustler Magazine ran an ad in the Washington Post last summer offering up to $1 million for information from anyone who had sexual relations with any member of the U.S. Congress. The amount to be paid depended upon the quality of the information and whether it resulted in a story.
BigHeadDC, a Washington blog, reported on Nov. 26 that the likely real reason for Lott’s resignation, which is effective on Dec. 31, was that his relationship with Nicholas was about to be made public. Lott said he was resigning to spend more time with his family and pursue other interests.
Yet more speculation was raised this week about the lawmaker’s motive for abandoning his 35-year career seven months into his new term when it was announced Lott’s brother-in-law, millionaire Mississippi attorney Richard Scruggs, and Lott’s nephew have been indicted on federal bribery charges. Again, Lott denied there was any connection to his decision to retire a coincidence, he said.
Perhaps also coincidentally, the date of Lott’s resignation comes one day before a new law comes into effect that requires former senators to wait two years before they can accept employment as lobbyists.
Bloomberg.com reported on Nov. 28 that Lott’s son has confirmed his father, a former lawyer, plans to seek a career as a lobbyist.
Can this picture get any muddier? Of course, it can. We’re talking about powerful, wealthy people allegedly involved in nefarious deeds.
Shortly after BigHeadDC reported the possibility that there was more behind Lott’s resignation, Nicholas posted a denial on his blog. The escort claimed he had never met Lott.
Then BigHeadDC published its e-mail correspondence with Nicholas. Nicholas was cagey in his e-mails, never denying that he had provided services for Lott. “No comment,” he said.
The escort added, “Trent is going through his fair share of scrutiny right now, and I don’t want to add to it. All I can say at this point is no comment. It’s the professional thing for me to do.”
I e-mailed Nicholas, asking him why his responses to the blog’s editor were so cryptic rather than flat-out denials, like the one he subsequently posted on his blog. I also asked him if he considered it appropriate for a gay male escort to profit off services provided to an anti-gay congressman. Nicholas, who describes himself as a young, hung athletic fratboy with a sharp intellect never answered my e-mail.
Finally, in my feverish pursuit of the story, I called Bruce David, the editorial director of Hustler, to see if Flynt had the goods on Lott, and whether we could expect an expose on Lott any time soon.
David confirmed that Hustler had received information about Lott from sources other than Nicholas, but he declined to reveal any of it.
“If I tell you anything about it, I run the risk I’m going to have to pay one of our sources for information we might not even publish,” David said.
David said there might not be any point in publishing a story about Lott because he has resigned.
“Our whole reason for doing this is to get them out of power,” David said. “Here, Trent Lott has essentially removed himself from the equation. We’re going to have to decide do we want to spend more money on the investigation for something that is, from our point of view, a dead issue. He’s leaving office.”
David said that Hustler has “lots of information on lots of different people,” but it only publishes that material when a person is a hypocrite a person who says one thing in public and does another in private.
Under that rule, I would say our anti-gay foe Lott certainly fits the criteria for outing if Hustler has the type of information I think it does.
So if you’re reading, Larry, I say go ahead and write that check. If you’ve got the scoop, Benjamin, give Larry a call. You’re not getting any younger, and the last time I checked, there weren’t any pension plans available for party boys.
In the process, you’ll both help make the country a much better place for all of us.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 30, 2007