Prosecutors allege witness harassment

March 20, 2007 at 12:09 PM

WASHINGTON, March 20 (UPI) -- Federal prosecutors say an alleged Washington madam and her lawyer are trying to intimidate ex-employees and clients so they won't testify against her.

U.S. attorneys cited in court filings an e-mail Deborah Jeane Palfrey sent them in which she warned of a "very long and unpleasant" fight if they pursued charges against her, the Washington Post reported Tuesday. They want U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler to issue an order "to prevent the serious and ongoing harassment of witnesses who may have provided information to law enforcement officers or testified as part of the grand jury's investigation."

They also cited her civil lawsuit against an alleged employee and her intent to sell or release a list of 10,000 clients of her now-closed upscale escort service, Pamela Martin and Associates. A hearing is set for Thursday.

Palfrey, 50, of Vallejo, Calif., allegedly used the escort service as a cover for a high-end prostitution ring in the Washington area. She was indicted last month on federal racketeering charges.

Palfrey's attorney, Montgomery Blair Sibley, says prosecutors are trying to undercut him by bringing up unrelated Florida cases in which he is accused of harassing witnesses.

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