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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Washington Wants to Know: Who’s on Escort Service List?(the saga continues)

Now don’t you just love it when they say they just used their service for massages only………who the hell do they think they are kidding.  It just blows my mind when someone comes up with that statement.  Just like Clinton when he said he had tried marijuana but didn’t inhale.   

By NEIL A. LEWIS
Published: May 1, 2007

deborah-jeane-palfrey.jpgWASHINGTON, April 30 — The woman who faces charges of running a prostitution ring in Washington that serviced the prominent and powerful said Monday that she intended to force many of those clients to testify in her behalf.

The woman, Deborah Jeane Palfrey, is offering a simple defense to government charges that the escort service she ran for 13 years by telephone from her home in California was actually a straightforward prostitution business.

Although she promoted her business as a legal “high-end erotic fantasy service,” she said it was not intended as an exchange of sex for money. She told reporters Monday that her former clients, reported to include a Bush administration economics official and the head of a conservative research group, among others, should confirm that when they are called to testify.

If any sexual activity occurred, she said, it was not authorized or intended by her but undertaken independently by her female subcontractors and male clients “who disobeyed my directives, their signed contracts and participated in illegal behavior.”

In other words, she is stunned at accusations that sexual activity had taken place between the women who worked for her and the men who paid them about $300 for 90 minutes of their attentions.

Washington residents have been mildly titillated by the case but more than mildly curious about the one obvious question: Who were those powerful clients?

As for now, the names of only two have been revealed. The most prominent was Randall L. Tobias, a veteran businessman and the top foreign aid adviser in the State Department, who resigned Friday after he acknowledged to ABC News that he was on the list of Ms. Palfrey’s clients.

The other, disclosed on Ms. Palfrey’s Web site, was Harlan K. Ullman, a Defense Department consultant best known for coining the phrase “shock and awe” to describe the intended effect on Iraq of the war’s opening barrage, but the phrase also might well describe his own reaction to being called by reporters on Friday about the disclosure, about which he declined comment.

Ms. Palfrey says she does not know the actual names of her clients, just their telephone numbers. She said she gave them to ABC News without compensation so the network could use its resources to match names to the numbers.

ABC has used the information to prepare a story to be broadcast this Friday on its show “20/20.” In a promotion for the segment, ABC said on its Web site Monday that the list includes “a Bush administration economist, the head of a conservative think tank, a prominent C.E.O., several lobbyists and a handful of military officials” in addition to Mr. Tobias and Mr. Ullman. The network did not identify the customers by name and a spokesman declined to say whether it would do so Friday.

Mr. Tobias told reporters that he had used the escort service but said he only received massages.

Ms. Palfrey said Monday that she felt sorry for Mr. Tobias because of the unwanted attention he had received but was gratified that he supported her account that she had not run a sex-for-money service. She chided him, however, for choosing not to come forward earlier with his “extremely valuable exculpatory evidence.”

Ms. Palfrey was in United States District Court on Monday to ask Judge Gladys Kessler to replace her court-selected lawyer, A. J. Kramer, the city’s public defender. Judge Kessler said that she could choose another local lawyer, but that the court would not pay the costs for her to retain her choice, Herald Price Fahringer, a New York lawyer well known for his defense work in obscenity cases.

The indictment accuses Ms. Palfrey of engaging more than 100 women from 1993 to 2006 “for the purpose of engaging in prostitution activity with male clients, including sexual intercourse and oral sex in exchange for money.” She made more than $2 million running the operation, known as Pamela Martin and Associates, according to the indictment.

Information: The New York Times

Follow-up on Escort Service as Head of service plans to name names

By More Articles by Eric Lipton
Published: April 29, 2007

WASHINGTON, April 28 — Deborah Jeane Palfrey has not been at all shy about it: for more than a decade she ran an escort service that catered to upscale clients in the nation’s capital, sending college-educated women to men’s homes or hotel rooms.

For about $300, she promised 90 minutes of what she has described as a discreet “legal high-end erotic fantasy service.” But the discreet part is over, after federal authorities charged her with operating a prostitution ring.

“The tentacles of this matter reach far, wide and high into the echelons of power in the United States,” Ms. Palfrey wrote in a court filing last month, as she prepared to release a list of her clients’ telephone numbers and vowed to subpoena her customers — some of whom she described as prominent Washington officials.

It is a defense strategy that had its first casualty Friday. “In my previous post was about Randall Tobias whose story brought to light this escort service run by Deborah Palfrey and as we now see what was only the beginning.”

Mr. Tobias is the third prominent Washington figure to be identified as among Ms. Palfrey’s clients. This month, she identified an adviser to the Pentagon as “one of the regular customers” of her service. She included in a court filing and posted on her Web site the man’s photo and tax records. Dick Morris, the television commentator and former adviser to President Bill Clinton, who resigned in 1996 after reports that he was seeing a prostitute, was also a customer, Ms. Palfrey’s lawyer has said in court. Mr. Morris has denied the accusation.

Ms. Palfrey’s business, which operated from 1993 to 2006, had 15,000 customers and a pool of 130 or so escorts, ranging in age from 23 to 55, who worked as independent contractors, she said in one court filing.

“Best selection and availability before 9 p.m. each evening,” one advertisement she ran said.

Over the six years before the business shut down, she collected more than $750,000 from the escorts, with whom she split fees for each call, federal officials said in court filings.

Ms. Palfrey, who ran the Washington escort service out of her home in Vallejo, Calif., was convicted in 1991 of operating an illegal prostitution business in California and served 18 months in prison, according to federal authorities. She declined through her lawyer to comment on Saturday.

But she has insisted that her business, which she said catered to customers “from the refined walks of life here in the nation’s capital,” offered only “legal sexual and erotic services across the spectrum of adult sexual behavior,” like massages or nude dancing.

Federal authorities, who are pressing civil and criminal charges, say they are convinced that her escorts often crossed the line and that Ms. Palfrey knew they were working as prostitutes. Officials are trying to seize earnings from her business.

It is Ms. Palfrey’s defense strategy that is now causing the biggest stir.

She not only intends to identify more of her high-profile clients, but has also threatened to call them as witnesses at trial to back up her claim that the services provided never crossed the line to prostitution.

“I am a ferocious fighter when need be,” she wrote in an e-mail message this year to a Justice Department official involved in the case. “I can state with unequivocal certainty this situation will be a very long and unpleasant one.”

A federal judge ordered Ms. Palfrey to retain telephone records after she threatened to sell them to raise money for her defense. But she had already posted excerpts of the phone list on her Web site and given the list of calls from 2002 to 2006 to ABC News.

Montgomery Blair Sibley, Ms. Palfrey’s lawyer in the civil case, said on Saturday that about five lawyers had called to ask if their clients’ numbers were on the list. One lawyer asked if he could prevent the release of his client’s name or number, he said. The answer, Mr. Sibley said, was no.

“We are not in the business of trying to sell protection,” he said.

Information source: New York Times
April 29, 2007

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.