Judge Is Asked to Allow Use of Phone Records

By Carol D. Leonnig

Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, May 19, 2007; Page B04

The attorney for a woman accused of being the “D.C. madam” asked a federal judge yesterday to let her use phone records from her escort business in her defense.

Deborah Jeane Palfrey considers her clients’ numbers crucial to finding witnesses who can defend her against federal charges that she ran an illegal prostitution ring, even if the information leads to the outing of clients, her attorney said.

 


 

Palfrey is asking U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler to lift a ban on releasing the phone records. Her attorney, Preston Burton, argued that Palfrey’s clients and escorts should have known that they ran the risk of being identified publicly when they voluntarily sought or provided the services of her Washington area business, Pamela Martin & Associates.

“Any emotional distress incurred as a result of public disclosure of their contact with Ms. Palfrey’s business should have been contemplated by these apparently fragile potential witnesses prior to involving themselves with Pamela Martin & Associates,” Burton wrote.

He also suggested that Palfrey was being singled out. The government has charged her with running a multimillion-dollar prostitution ring for 13 years. She said her escorts provided legal fantasies and massages but not sex.

Burton complained that potential witnesses “have apparently been given a pass from prosecution by the government.”

Channing Phillips, spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, declined to comment, saying prosecutors will respond to Palfrey’s arguments in a hearing before Kessler on Monday.

Burton was appointed by the judge last week to represent Palfrey, who has said she is indigent because prosecutors have seized her assets. Burton also disputed the government’s contention that Palfrey provided her phone records to reporters with the ABC News program “20/20” and other media outlets in recent weeks to intimidate people who might testify against her.

Deputy Secretary of State Randall L. Tobias resigned from his post last month after ABC News contacted him about his phone number being listed by Palfrey in records covering 2002 to 2006. Tobias said he received massages but not sex.

2 Responses

  1. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again! Part of what our clients pay for is discretion. We have got to have standards of conduct in our profession, and a general code of ethics, like most any other profession. Palfrey has failed all sex workers in so many ways, and she is not my hero.

  2. Except this isn’t really about prostitution, but more likely that certain political elements fear she knows something about their other indiscretions (namely selling-out to a foreign power). You’re buying a smokescreen, but that’s my opinion. I recently conducted a 2hr. interview with Ms. Palfrey, and there’s a lot most of us don’t know that changes the whole case and what it could represent. It’s about protecting power and its servants.

    My first article:

    WHO ARE JOE CLARK AND MARIA CUVILLON? WHO ARE “DC MADAME” DEBORAH JEANE PALFREY’S ACCUSERS?

    “It’s my understanding that there really was no investigation.”
    –Deborah Jeane Palfrey to the author.

    Washington D.C.–“Do you realize that the information contained in the search warrant was 3-to-3 1/2, to 5-years-old?” states an exasperated Jeane Palfrey. The first thing one notes in speaking with Palfrey is her directness and approachability. She’s a very well-spoken woman who sees the implications of her case, and that they go well-beyond her own peculiar predicament. I point-out that the AP used the same excuse in October of 2006 as ABC recently did for not naming names on their 20/20 segment–she calls ABC’s decision “curious.”

    Palfrey’s clients might have included wealthy doctors and lawyers in Washington and its Maryland and Virginia suburbs, but now well-known names have so far surfaced, said a law enforcement official who spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing. The escort service, Pamela Martin & Associates, advertised in newspapers, on Web sites and in the Yellow Pages. It operated since 1993 “as an out-call prostitution business” of college-educated women with other jobs, the affidavit says. (AP, 10.10.2006)

    The piece is careful not to use the words “confidential informants,” but that’s exactly what they were and are. Palfrey adds, “They would have had no knowledge of who the clients were at that point [October 9th when the interview for the above quote took place]. These folks did not have a black book–there never was one. They passed-up 46 lbs. of phone records…they were already making statements about the doctors and lawyers on the 9th of October.” Could this suggest they already had an prepared outline of what to charge Ms. Palfrey with?

    It appears at this point that the prosecution has lost the script, with the defendant shut-out of court–an obvious abrogation of due process, a Kafka hell. The good news is that the Supreme Court could be her venue-of-choice soon. Interestingly, the decision is being pushed by Justice Clarence Thomas. Also of-note: her “gentleman’s agreement” not to divulge any information expired after the 20/20 broadcast (they wanted the other nine years of her phone records too), and the gag order barring her from releasing more phone records appears to be floundering with a lot of back-peddling by Federal District Judge Gladys Kessler.

    The AP article on October 10th, 2006: http://www.signonsandiego.com/uniontrib/20061010/news_1n10hookers.html

    More primary-documents: http://www.deborahjeanepalfrey.com

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