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Feds Seek To Gag D.C. Madam

Prosecutors fear leak of sensitive client, escort information

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Feds Seek To Gag D.C. Madam

MARCH 7--Federal prosecutors want to gag an indicted former Washington, D.C. madam who has recently threatened to go public with details about her former customers. In a motion filed Monday in U.S. District Court, investigators are seeking a protective order covering discovery material to be provided to Deborah Palfrey and her lawyers. Palfrey, 50, was indicted last week on racketeering and money laundering charges stemming from her operation of the Pamela Martin & Associates escort service, which closed last summer after 13 years in business. In their motion, a copy of which you'll find below, government lawyers claim that some discovery documents contain 'personal information' about Palfrey's former johns and prostitutes that is 'sensitive.' The prosecution filing does not detail the nature of this confidential information, though the identity of Palfrey's D.C. customers would surely be cloaked if the protective order was signed by Judge Gladys Kessler. According to the prosecution motion, while Palfrey and her lawyers would be able to use the discovery material to help prepare a defense, they would not be allowed to disclose the documents to anyone else (nor use the material for any other purposes). Palfrey, whose assets were frozen late last year, has recently floated the idea of selling her escort business's phone records. She has also 'made statements that could be considered veiled threats to cause embarrassment to former customers and employees,' according to the motion. In connection with an asset forfeiture action, Palfrey has sought to depose political consultant Dick Morris, who she has identified as a former escort service client. While no clients are identified in Palfrey's five-count indictment, the charging document indicates that 14 former associates testified before the grand jury that indicted her. Palfrey was previously convicted of operating a prostitution business in California and spent 18 months in prison (where the above mug shot was snapped). Before closing her business, Palfrey operated a web site touting Pamela Martin & Associates as 'the best adult agency around,' claiming that it had an 'ongoing repeat clientele rate of 65-75%.' Palfrey's site also advertised for escorts. Prospective hookers, she noted, had to be at least 23 years old with two or more years of college. And her $275-an-appointment employees had to be 'weight proportionate to height.' (5 pages)