D.C. Madam Trial: Powerful Men Won’t Have to Testify?

By Justin Rood

Apr 14, 2008 12:54pm

At least three powerful men, including Sen. David Vitter, D-La., may not have
to testify about their involvement with a Washington, D.C. escort
service.

The attorney for accused "D.C. Madam" Deborah Jeane Palfrey said
he would rest his case today without calling any further witnesses, the
Associated Press reported. The prosecution is also expected to rest its case
today, Preston Burton told the news service.

Earlier in the case, Burton
had indicated he might call to the stand Vitter, former senior State Department
official Randall Tobias, and military strategist Harlan Ullman — all men whose
numbers appeared on phone records of Palfrey’s business. None have been
called.

While the trio will apparently be saved the embarrassment of
publicly describing their encounters with Palfrey and her women, many
lesser-known figures have not been so lucky.

Three lesser-known men who were former clients
were called by prosecutors to testify they had sex with women dispatched by
Palfrey. Several women who worked for Palfrey were also compelled to testify, in
exchange for immunity from prosecution.

The witness’ responses under
oath have comprised a litany of unhappiness and pain, making coverage of the
trial less titillating than traumatic. "More Winces Than Thrills" was the
headline of a Washington Post story this morning, which called the lengthy
testimony from the former escorts "just a long, sad parade."

Palfrey
maintains she ran a "sexual fantasy" escort service and prohibited her employees
from engaging in any illegal activity, including intercourse with clients for
money.

Vitter has previously acknowledged his involvement with the
service; Tobias told ABC News a year ago he had used Palfrey’s agency "to have
gals come over to the condo to give me a massage" but did not have sex with
them.

Ullman, whom Palfrey described as "a disagreeable character," told
reporters last year that the appearance of his number in Palfrey’s business
phone records was "beneath the dignity of comment."

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