TV report expected to detail client list of escort service

Published May 5, 2007

McLEAN, Va. - A prominent military consultant and a Bush administration official have already been linked to a Washington, D.C.-area escort service that prosecutors contend was a prostitution ring. Others could join them after a television newsmagazine reports what it learned from the accused madam's phone records.

The ABC News show 20/20 on Friday planned to air what it has learned about Deborah Jeane Palfrey's business from 46 pounds of phone records she gave the network before a judge's order barring her from releasing them took effect.

Palfrey, 51, of Vallejo, Calif., is charged in federal court with racketeering and money laundering associated with prostitution.

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.

Palfrey has said she gave ABC News the phone records because she hopes a network investigation of the records would compel customers to testify they did not engage in sexual conduct with the escorts.

Senior State Department official Randall Tobias resigned from his post last week after ABC confronted him about his use of the service. Tobias has said he obtained massages but denied having sex with the escorts.

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

On Thursday, a lawyer for 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.

The network has said the list of Palfrey's customers also includes a Bush administration economist, a prominent chief executive officer, the head of a conservative think tank, lobbyists and military officials.

Palfrey and the Internet radio station wsRadio.com will auction tapes of five one-hour interviews with her next week, the Washington Post reported Friday. Bids will start at $5, 000.

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