June 23, 2010

ABC exposes criminal record of aide to Sen. Vitter, raising more questions about Vitter’s judgment

By CREW Staff

ABC News has an exclusive report detailing the long criminal record of Brent Furer, a top aide to Senator David Vitter. After the news broke, Furer resigned. It's worth reading the ABC report. CREW's Melanie Sloan thinks this news "says something terrible about Senator Vitter's judgment." It sure does:

A longtime aide to Louisiana Sen. David Vitter, who has been assigned by the senator to oversee women's issues, pleaded guilty in 2008 to charges stemming from a knife-wielding altercation with an ex-girlfriend.

The aide, Brent Furer, has had repeated brushes with the law dating back to the 1990s, an ABC News investigation has found. Yet Furer has continued to receive his taxpayer-financed senate staff salary in Washington, even as court records show he remains wanted on an open warrant in Baton Rouge stemming from an unresolved misdemeanor DWI charge.

Those who have had encounters with Furer say his presence on Vitter's payroll raises serious questions about the senator's judgment. Melanie Sloan, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, said it concerns her that the senator has talked so forcefully as an advocate for women and an opponent of drunk driving, and yet would keep someone with Furer's background on his staff.

"It says something terrible about Senator Vitter's judgment that this is the kind of guy he wants to keep in his office," said Sloan, who first alerted ABC News to the assault case. "The people of Louisiana should be asking, 'What does this guy do for Senator Vitter to keep him around?'"

Here's ABC's description of that "knife-wielding altercation with an ex-girlfriend":

Charging documents allege that Furer became angry when he found phone numbers for other men in her blackberry. He smashed her phone when she tried to call 911, the records say, and he shoved her to the floor when she tried to leave, then held his hand over her mouth and threw her on a bed.

Demopoulos told police Furer "uttered the words to her, 'Do you want to get serious.'" Then, the arrest warrant states, Furer "grabbed an unknown object and held it under her neck. The suspect asked the complainant, 'Do you want to die?' The complainant replies and she stated, 'No, I don't want to die.'"

After a 90 minute standoff, Furer made her promise not to call police, and then allowed her to leave. She fled to a friend's house, and was taken by ambulance to the hospital. A slash on her chin took eight stitches to close, the police report says.



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