U.S. News

Accused D.C. "madam" offers phone records to media

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A woman accused of running a prostitution ring catering to Washington’s elite offered the phone records of her escort service to the media and others on Thursday in hopes of uncovering witnesses to aid her defense.

Jeane Palfrey, who has been called the "D.C. Madam," and faces federal charges of running a prostitution operation in the Washington area from 1993 through August 2006, reads a statement as she departs after a hearing at a federal court house in Washington April 30, 2007. Palfrey offered the phone records of her escort service to the media and others on Thursday in hopes of uncovering witnesses to aid her defense. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/Files

Deborah Jeane Palfrey, who has been called “the D.C. madam,” faces criminal racketeering and conspiracy charges based on allegations that she earned $2 million operating a prostitution service between 1993 and 2006.

Palfrey insists her company, Pamela Martin and Associates, was a legal sexual fantasy business.

She initially considered selling the phone records, which amount to a huge log of phone numbers, to raise money for her defense. But in March, the federal judge in the case imposed a temporary injunction that prevented her access to the documents.

That changed on Thursday, when the judge lifted the injunction saying the phone records were not part of the government’s case against her.

Palfrey immediately offered the phone numbers free of cost to media outlets, Web logs, public service organizations and charities through her Web site

Prosecutors have described the phone records as a “little black book” that could include the numbers of senior government officials. But the records contain numbers without names.

“It will take a small army of people skilled in computer and phone technology, investigation as well as factual knowledge regarding the significance or non-significance of identified persons,” said a statement accompanying Palfrey’s online offer.

Palfrey is requiring recipients of the phone records to comply with several conditions, including one stipulating that the numbers not be published, traded or sold to third parties.

Recipients also must agree not to disclose the identity of any woman who worked for Palfrey’s business without first obtaining the woman’s permission.

In April, a senior State Department official in charge of foreign aid abruptly resigned from office for personal reasons. ABC News said he had used Palfrey’s escort services for massages but that he maintained there had been no sex.