IMAGE: David Vitter
Bill Haber  /  AP
Sen. David Vitter, R-La., will return to the Senate next week after admitting his association with an escort service operated by the so-called "D.C. Madam."
updated 7/13/2007 12:44:12 PM ET 2007-07-13T16:44:12

Louisiana Sen. David Vitter, who has been in seclusion since acknowledging dealings with a Washington escort service, "will be back next week," said a Senate colleague who has exchanged messages with him.

Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., who has traded e-mails with his fellow Republican, told reporters that he expects Vitter to return to the Capitol by Tuesday, when the Senate will have roll call votes.

Vitter, 46, missed votes on Iraq policy matters on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. DeMint said his understanding is that Vitter has spent the week in Louisiana with his wife and their four children.

"That's the sense I got from trading e-mails," DeMint said.

Vitter's staff has declined to disclose his whereabouts or plans.

Palfrey called Vitter during Senate votes Video: 'A very serious sin,' Sen. Vitter says
In a statement issued Monday night, Vitter apologized for committing a "very serious sin," acknowledging that his Washington phone number was among those called several years ago by an escort service that prosecutors say was a prostitution operation. Telephone records show that Deborah Jeane Palfrey placed calls to Vitter's Washington number five times from 1999 to 2001, while he was a U.S. House member. On four of those five days, the House was in session and Vitter participated in every roll call vote.

The records do not indicate whether Vitter himself took the calls or if another person, an answering machine or another answering device picked up the calls.

Federal prosecutors have accused Palfrey of running a prostitution ring beginning in 1993. She says her escort service, Pamela Martin and Associates, was a legitimate business offering sexual fantasies.

Palfrey has said her practice was to promptly return calls placed to her company, to verify the caller's identity and decide whether to arrange an appointment with one of her female employees. All types of researchers are now poring over the thousands of numbers she has released in the hope, Palfrey says, of locating defense witnesses for her case.

Vitter, 46, moved to Washington after winning a special House election in May 1999. His wife and children remained back home, as do many lawmakers' families.

DeMint, who generally shares Vitter's conservative philosophies and who joined him in derailing a major immigration bill backed by President Bush, predicted that senators will welcome their colleague back despite his admission.

"It's a huge moral failure that reflects on the whole body," DeMint said. "And for that he's very sorry."

"Obviously he has a lot of remorse," DeMint said. "He seems to want to address it head on and not try to hide it."

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Video: Vitter missing in action


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