Washington in shock as madam testifies


Richard Moore

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Washington in shock as madam testifies
Tuesday May 1 08:44 AEST

The so-called "DC Madam" accused of running an upscale Washington escort agency 
said Monday she was "sorry" that a top official had been outed as her client, 
but vowed thousands more names would be revealed unless charges against her were

Deborah Jeane Palfrey, who is facing charges of running a $400-an-hour 
prostitution service for 13 years, appeared in a Washington court on Monday for 
a preliminary hearing.

Palfrey denies doing anything illegal through her business Pamela Martin & 
Associates, but has said she has a record of the phone numbers of thousands of 
customers that could embarrass more than a few of the US capital's high-fliers.

On Friday deputy Secretary of State and head of the US Agency for International 
Development (USAID), Randall Tobias, resigned for personal reasons, but ABC news
said he stepped down after the network contacted him about using the service.

"Tobias was a customer of my previous business, Pamela Martin & Associates," 
Palfrey confirmed on Monday.

"Allow me to say how genuinely sorry I am for Mr. Tobias, his family and his 
friends," Palfrey told reporters outside the courtroom.

Palfrey had earlier named Harlan Ullman, the man behind the "shock and awe" 
military strategy, as a client.

The madam promised that her telephone records - 20kg of them - would be revealed
unless the charges against her were dropped.

Palfrey, 50, appeared in court Monday in a somber mood matched by a dark-blue 
suit and simple hair style. Her bright red lipstick was the only decorative 
touch as she sat at the defense table.

Palfrey argued she had no funds available as her three homes and several cars 
had been seized by the government.

Judge Gladys Kessler tossed out her civil lawyer, replaced him with a public 
defender whom Palfrey rejected and then denied her motion that the government 
cough up 150,000 dollars to pay the lawyer of her choice.

In a small victory, Kessler ordered the removal of an electronic monitoring 
anklet that a court had forced Palfrey to wear so she would not flee from 
another case in California.

"I got the electronic monitor off, so things are going in the right direction," 
Palfrey told AFP.

She has maintained that her business offered legal "sexual fantasies," not sex, 
as one of many so-called escort services that fill a dozen or so pages of 
Washington telephone directories.

Palfrey claims her "girls" were private contractors and if they engaged in 
illegal sex for money, she said, it was without her approval.

If she must defend herself, Palfrey said, she will use the phone records as a 
witness list.

"I'm sure as heck not going to be going to federal prison for one day, let alone
four to eight years, because I'm shy about bringing in the deputy secretary of 
whatever," Palfrey told ABC, which will air an interview Friday.

"I'll bring in every last one of them if necessary."

Palfrey said she did her best to keep the names private, but "it was only when 
government attorneys ... refused every reasonable offer ... did I make the 
determination to utilize the records for my defense."

She said Tobias's admission to having used her services was evidence in her 
favor, because he, too, said he did nothing wrong.

"I am dismayed, however, by Mr Tobias's refusal to come forward until now with 
this extremely valuable exculpatory evidence.

"Had he done so earlier along with the many, many others who have used my 
company's services throughout the years, I most likely would not be in my 
current position," she said.

Her lawyer, Montgomery Sibley, put it more bluntly: "We are looking for 

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