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‘D.C. Madam’ speaks out

The week's news at a glance.

Washington, D.C.

The owner of a Washington escort service this week made an unusual public request for former clients to come forward to help her beat a prostitution charge. Deborah Jeane Palfrey, 50, claims she ran a “legal high-end erotic fantasy service” staffed by $300-an-hour female escorts who signed employment agreements that required them to perform only lawful acts. Prosecutors contend that Palfrey encouraged her escorts to have sex with clients. Now Palfrey is asking clients, who she says reach “high into the echelons of power in the United States,” to testify that they didn’t have sex with her employees. She has also turned over reams of phone records to ABC News’ 20/20 program. One person who is named in the phone records, Deputy Secretary of State Randall Tobias, resigned last week after ABC asked about his use of Palfrey’s service. Tobias, who oversaw the Bush administration’s global AIDS policy, acknowledged hiring Palfrey’s escorts, but only for massages.

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