'D.C Madam' jury selection starts

April 7, 2008 at 6:13 PM
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WASHINGTON, April 7 (UPI) -- Jury selection began Monday in Washington in the trial of Deborah Jeane Palfrey, better known as the "D.C. Madam," accused of running a prostitution ring.

Palfrey, who ran Pamela Martin & Associates, is charged with racketeering and money-laundering in allegedly operating an escort service the government described as a prostitution ring. Several prominent names were listed in company's customer service list, The (New Orleans) Times-Picayune reported Monday.

On Friday, a judge rejected a motion by an attorney who has represented Sen. David Vitter, R-La., to quash a defense subpoena for his client to testify. The attorney, Henry Asbill, wouldn't say whether the client is Vitter, but told the court his client would assert his Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination if forced to appear.

The judge also refused to extend immunity to another person who testified before a grand jury because he was granted immunity. Without immunity, the attorney said his client wouldn't testify, prompting the judge to say the client could face a contempt charge if he refuses to comply with the subpoena.

Besides Vitter, former State Department official Randall Tobias' phone number was in the escort service's phone logs, the newspaper said. Tobias quit after the revelation last year.

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