Accused Madam Reveals No New Clients – “These were not cheap women”

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published: May 4, 2007
Filed at 11:58 p.m. ET

WASHINGTON (AP) — A woman accused of running a Washington-area prostitution ring detailed her business in a highly anticipated TV interview Friday night but identified no new well-known clients.

Deborah Jeane Palfrey supplied the ABC newsmagazine ”20/20” with 46 pounds of phone records from her escort service, Pamela Martin and Associates, in hopes that its investigation would ferret out clients who would testify that they did not have sex with the women Palfrey employed.

Some of the phone records could be tracked to prominent business executives, NASA officials, at least five military officers and exclusive neighborhood mansions, according to the ABC report. But there were no members of Congress or White House officials traced through Palfrey’s records, the network reported.

Palfrey, 51, of Vallejo, Calif., is charged in federal court with racketeering and money laundering associated with prostitution. She said she ran the business, Pamela Martin and Associates, from her laundry room, and that the women who worked for her signed contracts in which they promised not to have sex with clients. (*interesting running her business from her laundry room.  How appropriate, laundry room=dirty laundry*)  ”These were not cheap women.  These were very nice women who just needed to make a few extra dollars,” Palfrey said.

Palfrey did identify one of her escorts, a former university professor who committed suicide after being charged with prostitution.

Palfrey maintained the business was legitimate.

”I was selling fantasy sex,” Palfrey said.

The Washington escort service carried out its business undetected at some of the city’s most exclusive hotels, she said. The service charged a flat rate of $275 for 90 minutes, she said.

The most prominent client of Palfrey’s business was senior State Department official Randall Tobias, (*please see the initial post regarding Tobias*)

Tobias has said he obtained massages (*yeah right, I suppose he tried marijuana but didn’t inhale either*) but denied having sex with the escorts.

In court papers last month and again in Friday’s interview, Palfrey named Harlan Ullman, known as an author of the ”shock and awe” combat strategy, as a regular customer. Ullman’s attorney, Marc Mukasey, said Friday before the interview aired that Palfrey should not assume that Ullman will give helpful testimony on her behalf. He declined to elaborate.

On Thursday, a lawyer for Palfrey said an instructor at the U.S. Naval Academy was one of the service’s escorts and ABC reported that a secretary at a prominent law firm was another escort.

Montgomery Blair Sibley, Palfrey’s civil attorney, confirmed a report in the Navy Times that an academy instructor worked as an independent contractor for Palfrey’s service. Sibley said he didn’t know whether the person is still at the academy.

An academy spokeswoman said she had no information about Sibley’s claim.

ABC said a legal secretary at the Akin Gump law firm was suspended after telling her bosses that she had been secretly working as one of Palfrey’s escorts. ABC did not name the woman, who told Akin Gump she expects to be a government witness in the case.

Palfrey told ABC that most of her escorts worked for her because they needed the money (*well damn, you could have knocked me over with that statement*). Palfrey said she urged the women who answered her newspaper and phone book ads to think seriously before signing up.

”Many of these girls had never done this kind of work before,” Palfrey said.

Palfrey said some of the most popular women were in their 50s. She said that there was never an age limit, and that most of the women worked about three shifts a week, ending each night at 11 p.m.

”I made sure they either worked or went to school in the daytime,” she said. (*Well now isn’t that sweet, what a wonderful “mother hen” she was.  So protective of her “nighttime” girls*)

Palfrey, who was sentenced to 18 months in a California prison in 1991 after pleading guilty to attempted pimping, said she rejected an offer in the current case to plead guilty to reduced charges in return for a four-month prison term.

Palfrey and the Internet radio station wsRadio.com will auction tapes of five one-hour interviews with her next week, The Washington Post reported Friday. Bids will start at $5,000. (*and the proceeds will go to????*)

The station’s president, Chris Murch, declined to disclose details of the contract to the newspaper but said Palfrey will donate 10 percent of the proceeds to charity.  (*Ah, there we go, charity…..mmm, wonder if that could be “sweet charity”?*)

* my inserted comments*

Information: The New York Times

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Federal Official Resigns in Escort Service Inquiry (our tax dollars at work)

Published: April 28, 2007

WASHINGTON, April 27 — The head of the Agency for International Development, Randall L. Tobias, resigned abruptly on Friday for what he said were “personal reasons,” but an administration official said Mr. Tobias’s name had come up in an investigation of a suspected Washington prostitution ring.

On Friday night, ABC News said Mr. Tobias had confirmed on Thursday that he was a customer of an escort service.

A woman from Vallejo, Calif., Deborah J. Palfrey, has pleaded not guilty to charges that she operated a call-girl service in Washington, and has threatened on her Web site to sell her client list to raise money for her defense. ABC News reported that Ms. Palfrey had given the network thousands of phone numbers of clients.

In court papers filed on April 11 in Federal District Court here, she identified an adviser to the Pentagon as “one of the regular customers” of her service. She posted the man’s photo from his own Web site and tax records on a house he owns in Washington.

On her Web site, Ms. Palfrey asserted that her service, doing business as Pamela Martin and Associates, “functioned as a high-end adult fantasy firm which offered legal sexual and erotic services across the spectrum of adult sexual behavior.”

Mr. Tobias told ABC that he used the service for massages, not sex, according to the network’s Web site.

The State Department referred all questions to Mr. Tobias’s personal office in Indianapolis. There was no reply to a message left there on Friday night. At his Washington apartment building, the concierge said Mr. Tobias was not in.

Mr. Tobias, 65, is a former chairman and chief executive of Eli Lilly & Company and of AT&T International. He served as the chairman of the board of Duke University from 1997 to 2000. He was also a major donor to various Republican campaigns.

President Bush nominated him in July 2003 to lead a $15 billion program to fight AIDS worldwide.

At the time, some AIDS experts said Mr. Tobias did not have much experience with AIDS or Africa.

Then, as director of United States Foreign Assistance, he held the rank of ambassador.

In January 2006, Mr. Bush said he would nominate Mr. Tobias to be the administrator of the Agency for International Development. That position gave him the rank of deputy secretary of state.

The White House did not confirm the circumstances of the resignation. Dana Perino, a White House spokeswoman, said the president expressed “sadness and disappointment” that Mr. Tobias was resigning. Mr. Bush expressed appreciation for Mr. Tobias’s work here and around the world, Ms. Perino said, and “wished his family well in the future.”

Jim Rutenberg contributed reporting.