The former owner of an escort business said she has reached a deal to share her records of up to 15,000 client phone numbers with a media organization.
"I have decided to hand over all phone records, logs and invoices (including those presently unknown to the government) to what I believe to be one of the most reputable and respected investigative news organizations in the country, to assist me with my needs," Deborah Jeane Palfrey, 50, wrote in an e-mail to WTOP Radio.
She did not identify the news organization or give details of the arrangement. Palfrey's civil attorney, Montgomery Blair Sibley, would not say whether his client was getting paid, or if she was simply getting investigative assistance with uncovering the names associated with the phone numbers.
Palfrey ran an upscale escort service in the Washington area from her Vallejo, Calif., home for 13 years, until August 2006. Her assets were frozen in October after an Internal Revenue Service investigation, and she pleaded not guilty Friday to federal racketeering charges in U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia.
The list currently has only telephone numbers, but Palfrey and her attorney have been negotiating with about a dozen serious bidders for the list, Sibley said.
"The records needed and need to be mined for potential defense witnesses, in the criminal and civil cases currently pending against me," Palfrey wrote in the e-mail.
A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office said prosecutors could not comment because of the pending indictment.
Palfrey said that in her time operating the business, she used discretion and confidentiality about who her clients were. But now, with her assets frozen by the government, she said she needs to leverage the list to help with her defense. Her attorney indicated they will search for individuals who can testify that contact with escorts and clients was legal.
Palfrey was released after her arraignment and must wear an electronic monitoring device.