Judge to Palfrey: Stop Giving Out Phone Records

ABC News:

Washington – Thursday May 10, 2007 8:49 pm

ABC 7 News - Judge to Palfrey: Stop Giving Out Phone Records

 

A federal judge on Thursday ordered alleged Washington madam Deborah Jeane Palfrey and her attorney to stop releasing phone records from the escort service Palfrey ran.

Palfrey, 51, of Vallejo, Calif., is accused of racketeering by running an illegal prostitution ring that netted more than $2 million over 13 years, beginning in 1993. The case has drawn attention because of her threats to expose high-profile Washington officials.

U.S. District Court Judge Gladys Kessler issued a similar order in March, but Palfrey gave her phone records to ABC News before the order took effect.

Palfrey, who contends that her business was a legal escort service, hoped the network would name clients, and that they would testify that they did not have sex with the women who worked for her.

A report last week on the “20/20” newsmagazine mentioned NASA officials, military officers, chief executives and a career Justice Department prosecutor as clients. But the network did not publicly identify the individuals, saying their names were not newsworthy. After the broadcast, Palfrey’s civil attorney, Montgomery Blair Sibley, pressured Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to release the name of the prosecutor, threatening to release phone records that had not been previously given to ABC if he did not do so.

The Justice Department later said the individual had been dead for several years.

In Thursday’s order, Kessler said that Sibley had issued an ultimatum to the attorney general, and that he was threatening to violate her March order. She barred Palfrey and her attorney from distributing Palfrey’s phone records to any person or organization.

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