Jan. 16, 2008 -- The so-called "D.C. Madam" won't get to peek at ABC News' research into her phone records, a federal judge ruled today.
Deborah Jeane Palfrey had asked U.S. District Court Judge James Robertson to subpoena ABC News for access to a list of names connected to phone numbers in her business phone records.
Palfrey is facing criminal charges stemming from what federal prosecutors say was an out-call prostitution service she operated in the Washington, D.C. area for more than a decade. Palfrey has said hers was a legal "sexual fantasy" service.
Last year, ABC News was the first to obtain a batch of phone records from the final years of her operation, as part of an investigative project which aired in May.
In his ruling, Robertson agreed with lawyers for ABC News that the rules of criminal procedure do not allow subpoenas for obtaining information that is not evidence itself, but might lead to the discovery of admissible evidence, and that such a list would not meet that standard. He did not entertain a second argument by ABC News that its products were protected on First Amendment grounds.