More commentary- pay attention, 007!

More from my lawyer friend:

On the surface the fed’s case against Ms. Palfrey mirrors in many ways another federal prosecution in Louisiana back in the 1990s. The escort service owner, Sylvia Landry, was charged with running an interstate prostitution ring and transporting women, including minors, across state lines to engage in prostitution. Rumor had it that she got caught in the middle of a political corruption investigation of the governor’s office, and the feds hoped to squeeze her into rolling over on some highly placed politicians. She refused to do so, went to trial, was convicted, and received a six year jail sentence. She committed suicide in custody, without ever giving up her client list. The U.S. Attorney (a Clinton appointee), who brought the full weight of the federal government down on her, ended up with egg on his face. Here’s the story:

“Baton Rouge sits in the heart of Cajun country and is also the centre of state politics. Louisiana politicians are notorious for not letting work get in the way of a good time.

In 1992, Sylvia Landry opened three escort services: Dial-a-Date, Cosmopolitan and Charlie’s Angels. As her client list expanded, Landry’s reputation gained her notoriety and attention in the Bayou state. By 1994, she was earning half a million dollars a year in net profits, with her client list rumoured to reach as high up as the Governor’s mansion and perhaps even as far as Washington, DC.

Within two years, Landry’s high-profile business ventures landed her in jail. She was arrested and charged with pandering and enticing women into prostitution, including the transportation of minors over state lines for these purposes. But Sylvia Landry was confident that her high-profile clients would pull the necessary strings to keep her out of jail.

Under pressure from authorities, a few of Landry’s girls testified against her and her antagonistic attitude certainly didn’t help matters. Through it all, Landry refused to turn over her client list. Some in Baton Rouge admired her defiance whilst others pushed for a local ordinance banning escort services. The case seemed to rip the city down the middle.

Landry was convicted on all counts and sentenced to six years in federal prison. She pleaded no contest to the state charges and was sent to serve her sentence in Texas. However, she escaped as soon as she arrived at the federal pen in Bryan, Texas. Three days later, Landry was apprehended less than three miles from the prison.

Whilst waiting for the transfer of Landry to a maximum security facility in Kansas, authorities found the Baton Rouge Madame dead in her jail cell, hanging from a homemade noose fashioned out of a bed sheet and attached to the smoke detector fixture in her cell.

Landry’s death was officially ruled a suicide, but around Baton Rouge, many people thought she had been murdered at the behest of some of her more powerful clients. As none of her employees or her clients were ever prosecuted, many Baton Rouge residents still claim that Sylvia Landry was the only victim in an otherwise victimless crime.”

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