MONROE, La. (AP) — A top aide to a Louisiana congressman videotaped kissing a married woman who is not his wife was one of the few people with access to the leaked security footage that exposed the dalliance.
Pressure has mounted on Republican Vance McAllister since the Monday disclosure of grainy video footage from his district headquarters. McAllister, a conservative who highlights his Christian faith and family devotion, has found few defenders among the Republican establishment he beat to win the job in a surprise special election result last year.
A written statement from McAllister's office on Wednesday offered no answers to questions about his political future or private life that have arisen since a weekly newspaper, the Ouachita Citizen, released videotape of him kissing a woman identified as Melissa Peacock. Peacock resigned Monday from the congressional payroll.
The statement said McAllister "is focused on earning back the trust of those he has disappointed" and wants "privacy for his family during this difficult period." Separately, the congressman was quoted by the Monroe News-Star as saying that he plans to seek a full term in November. Qualifying for the Nov. 4 primary takes place in late August.
McAllister backers, meanwhile, said they expect the congressman to fight for his family and his job. One of them, Monroe architect Bill Land, owns and shares the building where the kissing was captured on the security tape.
Land said one of his employees and one of McAllister's employees are the only people who knew the passcode required to access the digital archives. Land's employee, Lance Hilton, told The Associated Press on Wednesday that he's never accessed any old footage.
But Land and Hilton said Leah Gordon, McAllister's district office director, had in fact reviewed videotape on multiple occasions, beginning when she worked in the same post for McAllister's predecessor, Rodney Alexander. A receptionist at McAllister's district office said Gordon would not take questions and referred inquiries to McAllister's Washington office.