Questions About Blackmail, Earlier Affair Shadow Ensign
By M. Morris,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 18, 2009 10:50 AM CDT

(Newser) – John Ensign says he revealed his affair with a former staffer earlier this week because of an extortion attempt by the woman and her husband, but no blackmail investigation is under way, law-enforcement officials tell the Las Vegas Sun. The conservative senator's surprise confession also revives earlier speculation that his disappearance from public life for two weeks in 2002 was a consequence of an earlier extramarital relationship, the AP reports.

"There are a lot of legitimate questions," a fellow Nevada Republican tells the Sun; among them: If former staffers Cindy and Doug Hampton aren't attempting to shake down Ensign, why did he acknowledge the affair? Although he seems to consider the matter resolved, the Hamptons—former close friends of Ensign and his wife—apparently don't: "In time the Hamptons will be ready and willing to tell their side of the story," a lawyer for the couple said yesterday.