Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Scared and running rats of their own self-righteous hypocrisy

Prostitution Scandal Rocks Washington
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 Washington DC, 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," 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 on Friday.

Randall L. Tobias, the top foreign aid adviser in the State Department, became the most prominent person on the list to be publicly identified when he resigned after acknowledging to ABC News that he was among Palfrey's clients.

ABC News reported that Tobias, 65, said he had called Pamela Martin and Associates - Palfrey's business - for massages, not for sex.

Tobias, who was the director of foreign assistance and the administrator of the Agency for International Development, ran agencies that required foreign recipients of AIDS assistance to explicitly condemn prostitution, a policy that drew protests from some nations and relief organizations.

He is the third prominent Washington figure to be identified as among Palfrey's clients. This month, she identified an adviser to the Pentagon as "one of the regular customers" of her service.

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, Palfrey's lawyer has said.

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, she said in a court filing.

"Best selection and availability before 9 pm each evening," one advertisement she ran said.

Palfrey insists 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 Palfrey knew they were working as prostitutes.

It is 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."

Montgomery Blair Sibley, 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, Sibley said, was no.

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

Original article posted here.

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