Alleged D.C. Madam Wants to Subpoena Reporter, Senator

By Carol D. Leonnig
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, September 12, 2007; 5:36 PM

The alleged D.C. Madam said she wants to subpoena ABC News investigative reporter Brian Ross and Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) in hopes of showing she’s the victim of a political prosecution.

Deborah Jeane Palfrey, who faces charges of conspiracy in running an illegal prostitution ring in the D.C. area for 13 years, claims that her escort service provided legal, albeit sexually explicit, fantasies rather than sex. Ross’s news program was the first to review and report on phone records, which Palfrey provided, listing the numbers of escorts and clients she called over a four-year period.

As ABC News researched the phone calls, an assistant secretary of state resigned and disclosed that he had been a customer of Palfrey’s escort service. But Ross’s subsequent news program did not disclose names of high-profile customers, as Palfrey had pledged would happen.

Palfrey’s civil attorney, Montgomery Blair Sibley, wrote to reporters yesterday that he plans to seek Ross’s testimony because “the very real specter exists that political pressure was placed on ABC News to ‘bury’ ” names of prominent individuals it found among her phone records.

Sibley said Leahy, as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, will be able to attest to Bush administration Justice Department officials’ political interference in cases.

A spokesman for Leahy’s office dismissed Palfrey’s proposal as among the more wacky requests the senator’s office has received.

Ross rejected Palfrey’s suggestion that politicians censored or shaped his news reporting. “Our decisions regarding what we reported were based solely on what we considered to be newsworthy,” Ross said in statements posted on ABC’s Web site.

Woman Says She Had Sex With Sen. Vitter

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) — A former New Orleans prostitute who will be featured in Larry Flynt’s Hustler magazine appeared at his office Tuesday to accuse Sen. David Vitter of having a sexual relationship with her in 1999. Wendy Ellis told reporters that Vitter visited her two to three times a week for sexual relations between July and November 1999.

Flynt produced parts of an Aug. 22 polygraph test that he said confirmed her account, but Ellis could provide no financial records, photographs or other evidence to support her assertion that the Louisiana Republican was a client during that time.

Vitter has denied those claims.

“I want the truth to be known,” Ellis said. “It was a pure sexual relationship. He would come in and do his business.”

Ellis declined to comment when asked if she was being paid or reimbursed for her statement regarding Vitter, but she later said she would appear in Hustler magazine in January.

She would not say if she is being paid for the layout.

“She looks … good,” Flynt said.

Vitter, 46, a first-term senator, apologized in July for committing a “very serious sin” and acknowledged his phone number was among those called several years ago by a Washington escort service run by Deborah Jeane Palfrey. Federal prosecutors accused Palfrey of racketeering by running a prostitution ring that netted more than $2 million over 13 years, but she claims her escort service was a legitimate business.

Vitter’s admission came after Hustler magazine told the senator that his telephone number was linked to Palfrey’s escort service.

The senator was not charged with a crime.

Vitter’s office did not immediately return a phone message Tuesday.

On Monday, Vitter spokesman Joel Digrado wouldn’t comment on the Flynt press conference. In an e-mail, Digrado said, “Sen. Vitter and his wife have addressed all of this very directly. The senator is focused on important Louisiana priorities like the water resources bill and the Iraq debate.”

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Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt. left, and Wendy Cortez, whose real name is Wendy Ellis, speak at a news conference, Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2007, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (AP Photo/Ric Francis)