Red State: Someone's paying Haley's accuser to do this and we know who it is; Update: Folks denies; Update: Haley denies affair again

Assuming it’s true, I can’t wait to find out how much it took for this guy to turn his name into a curse word among grassroots conservatives.

We know who bit.

We know who didn’t bite.

We know who paid Will Folks to push this story out there.

Oh, and you guys in the media, you’ve let Folks string you along. We’re going to string you along.

I almost want to believe that this is Erick Erickson just messing around, tormenting Folks with the same sort of irresistible media-baiting smear that Folks has been laying on Haley, but it’s too damaging an accusation to be made in jest so he must have something. Color me shocked that a guy who’s been milking this story day after day after day after day — after having initially said he wouldn’t comment on it further — might harbor less-than-selfless motives for doing so. Here’s a quote to cherish:

The blogger said he hasn’t published proof of the relationship at the advice of his lawyers.

“I didn’t want to be in this position,” Folks claimed. “My role is to protect my family, No. 1, to protect my name, No. 2, and to protect my business. All three of which have come under siege simply because I was forced into the position of having to tell the truth about something.”

What better way to protect his reputation than by giggling his way through interviews with newspapers looking for dirt on Haley and posting daily blog teasers about “compromising photos,” anonymous eyewitnesses who remember seeing her car parked outside his house, etc? The fact that he seems to relish this as much as he does has become such a major subplot to all this that I’m not sure it isn’t actually the plot now. That’ll change if and when a smoking gun is produced — which may be soon, as he’s turned over some of his phone records to the media — but for the moment, the main narrative is “can you believe this guy?” Which, of course, Erickson’s post is designed to foster.

Haley’s promising to address this at the gubernatorial primary debate on Tuesday. Question: If it’s true, is that where she’ll come clean? It sounds nuts to imagine her copping to an affair in that high-profile a forum, but if she lies to the whole state and then it comes out that Folks is telling the truth, that’ll be big trouble. My guess (again, if the rumor’s true) is that she’ll admit it over the weekend to get it out of the way before the debate; presumably the release of some sort of damning evidence is being timed for Monday or Tuesday morning in order to give the moderators ammo to make her squirm. Exit question: If Haley fades, second look at Gresham Barrett?

Update: “Patently false,” says Folks.

“The allegation that I tried to sell a story or that I took money to confirm an inappropriate relationship with Nikki Haley is patently false,” Folks said in an e-mail to The Daily Caller…

Folks pointed to his extensive coordination with Haley’s campaign to kill forthcoming media accounts about the affair — documented in text messages he published to his Web site Wednesday, to ward off the allegations.

“I did not ask for this fight. In fact, I worked with Nikki’s campaign at every step of this process to prevent this information from coming out – a claim which has been extensively documented,” Folks said.

Update: First glance at Folks’s phone records shows that he and Haley did make calls to each other, but Haley says they were simply part of a working relationship. And another denial:

“My husband and I have been completely faithful to each other for 13 years,” said Haley, issuing her second denial in as many days. “There is no truth to the allegations and people have been overwhelmingly supportive.”…

When questioned about potential legal action against Folks, Haley says she has spoke with her husband and said there would be steps taken in due time.

“There will be a time and place for when all this is over that we will take care of this accordingly,” said Haley.

On Twitter, Erick Erickson’s promising new details on his accusation tomorrow morning. Stay tuned.