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The husband of John Ensign's former mistress talks [Updated]

July 8, 2009 |  6:45 pm

Philandering politicians Mark Sanford and John Ensign have much in common: conservative beliefs, dashed presidential ambitions -- and now screeds they likely wish they had whispered, not written.

Sanford, the South Carolina governor, attracted worldwide ridicule with his not-clandestine-enough visit to Argentina and the purple prose he e-mailed to his mistress, Maria (she of the curvy hips and "magnificent parts").

Today, the Las Vegas Sun posted a handwritten letter purportedly from Sen, Ensign to Cynthia Hampton, his family friend turned staffer turned mistress (whom he allegedly paid $25,000 in severance when she stopped working for him):

"I used you for my own pleasure.... Plain and simple, it was wrong; it was sin," the letter says. "God never intended for us to do this."

The letter is dated February 2008. The affair lasted until August, despite attempts by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) to persuade his Nevada colleague to end things, Coburn's spokesman said. He did not address accusations that Coburn and others encouraged Ensign to give Cynthia and her husband, Doug, enough money to pay off their more than $1-million mortgage and leave Las Vegas.

Perhaps that's why Cynthia Hampton's husband wrote his own letter to Fox News, begging for "justice, help and restitution." When Ensign got word of it, he rushed back from to Las Vegas and announced the affair.

Today, Doug Hampton, a former top Ensign aide, apparently tired of the written word. He made all sorts of accusations against Ensign -- on television.

[Updated at 7:45 p.m.: "In response to today's television interview, Sen. Ensign said Doug Hampton was consistently inaccurate in his statements," said Tory Mazzola, Sen. John Ensign's spokesman.]

-- Ashley Powers

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