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'D.C. Madam': Releasing clients' numbers not blackmail

Story Highlights

• Alleged "D.C. Madam" says she expects more names to surface in case
• Deborah Jeane Palfrey asks court to provide $150,000 for private counsel
• Palfrey questions why no escorts or patrons were charged along with her
• ABC News reports Bush economist, prominent CEO possibly on Palfrey's list
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- An attorney for Deborah Jeane Palfrey, the alleged "D.C. Madam," rejected accusations Monday that releasing a list of phone numbers used to dial Palfrey's high-end escort service amounted to blackmail.

"I call that due process of law," said Montgomery Blair Sibley, who represents Palfrey in a civil matter. "Why didn't we start in October if we were trying to blackmail people for money?"

Defending the "sexual albeit legal" service that she ran for 13 years, Palfrey said during a news conference that she expects the names of more clients to surface as the federal case against her moves forward. (Watch Palfrey assert that her "fantasy service" never offered sex Video)

The news conference came after a hearing in which Palfrey requested that the public defender representing her in the criminal case be replaced.

She filed a motion, citing "irreconcilable differences" with and "ineffective assistance of counsel" by public defender A.J. Kramer. She elaborated only to say that Kramer's assistance in the case is "lacking."

Palfrey initially said she would sell the list of clients' phone numbers to raise money for her defense. In the motion requesting Kramer be replaced, Palfrey asks the court to set aside $150,000 so she can retain private counsel.

She has said that because the government seized the assets from Pamela Martin & Associates -- which Palfrey calls an "erotic fantasy service" -- she could not immediately afford the legal bills she is facing in the multiple-count federal racketeering and money-laundering indictment.

Palfrey has given 46 pounds of telephone records to ABC News, she said, in hopes that the network can turn telephone numbers into names of clients who could testify on Palfrey's behalf.

Palfrey says she can't afford counsel

She said she decided against selling the records, even though a judge's order forbade the sale. While ABC "is under no obligation whatsoever to me, I do expect their reporting to help identify potential witnesses for my defense," she said. (Watch as the possibility of more names surfacing spreads fear in Washington Video)

"For me, this is an absolute necessity since the government has placed me in the untenable position whereby I do not have sufficient monies to undertake this extraordinarily expensive task on my own," she said.

Sibley added, "We don't have another option left."

Palfrey's prepared statements struck conspiratorial tones as she questioned why the government has made no attempt to charge any patrons or escorts if they, indeed, engaged in illegal activity.

Anyone who received or provided sex for money disobeyed her directives, and in some cases, their own "signed contracts," she insisted.

"I would expect the government -- as a matter of fairness and to avoid any hint of selective prosecution -- to charge each and every individual with the crimes of money laundering, racketeering and/or conspiracy as well," she said.

She implored the media to help her find out why she appears to be the sole target of the investigation.

"I believe there is something very, very rotten at the core of my circumstance and without money to hire my own investigators, I must rely upon your acumen and talent," she told reporters.

Two names have been released so far, though ABC News reports on its Web site that potential "witnesses" could include a "Bush administration economist, the head of a conservative think tank, a prominent CEO, several lobbyists and a handful of military officials."

Randall Tobias, a top State Department official, resigned for "personal reasons" after acknowledging to ABC News that he had been one of Palfrey's clients. Tobias told ABC News he never had sex with the escorts; rather, he would "have gals come over to the condo to give me a massage." (Watch how Tobias abruptly stepped down Video)

Palfrey apologized to Tobias on Monday but said she was dismayed that he never came to her defense "with this extremely valuable exculpatory evidence."

Earlier this month, Palfrey dropped the name of Harlan K. Ullman as one of her "regular customers," but Ullman -- a former Navy commander who helped design the White House's "shock and awe" military strategy for Iraq -- quickly scoffed at the accusation. (Full story)

"The allegations do not dignify a response," he said. "I'm a private, not a public, citizen."

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Alleged "D.C. Madam" Deborah Jeane Palfrey says Monday she expects more of her clients' names to surface as the case against her continues.



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