- The Washington Times - Saturday, May 5, 2007

No new high-profile clients were identified last night when a woman accused of running a D.C.-area prostitution ring revealed details about her business in a television interview.

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 engage in sexual activity with the women Miss Palfrey employed.

Miss Palfrey did identify one of her escorts, a former university professor who later committed suicide after being charged with prostitution, but did not drop any client names.

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 Miss Palfrey’s records.

“I was selling fantasy sex,” Miss Palfrey said. When asked whether some of her women may have broken her rules and engaged in illegal sex acts, Miss Palfrey said, “I sure hope not.”

Miss Palfrey, 51, of Vallejo, Calif., is charged in federal court with racketeering and money laundering associated with prostitution. She said she ran the business from her laundry room.

She contends that she ran Pamela Martin and Associates as a “legal, high-end erotic fantasy service” and that the women who worked for her signed contracts in which they promised not to have sex with clients. Prosecutors say she knew the 130 women she employed over 13 years engaged in prostitution.

Senior State Department official Randall Tobias resigned from his post last week after ABC confronted him about his use of the service. Mr. Tobias has said he obtained massages but he denied having sex with the escorts. The Indiana University School of Law at Indianapolis said Thursday he canceled plans to give a May 13 commencement speech.

In court papers filed last month, Miss Palfrey named Harlan Ullman, known as an author of the “shock and awe” combat strategy, as a regular customer. Mr. Ullman has said the accusation does not merit a response.

On Thursday, a lawyer for Miss 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.

Miss Palfrey told ABC that most of her escorts worked for her because they needed the money. She 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,” she said.

Miss Palfrey said some of the most popular women were in their 50s. She said 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.

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

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

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

The TV network has said the list of Miss Palfrey’s customers includes a Bush administration economist, a prominent chief executive officer and the head of a conservative think tank.

Miss Palfrey and the Internet radio station wsRadio.com will auction tapes of five one-hour interviews with her next week, according to news reports. Bids will start at $5,000.

The station’s president, Chris Murch, declined to disclose details of the contract but said Miss Palfrey will donate 10 percent of the proceeds to charity.

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