The federal government subjected both Ms. Palfrey and me to crucible that was designed to ensure our silence—or ultimately crush us. “They just destroy you on every level—financially, emotionally, psychologically,” Ms. Palfrey reportedly said of federal prosecutors. In the case of Ms. Palfrey, the U.S. Attorney for the District of D.C. smacked her with a 14-count RICO indictment that included money laundering, racketeering, and using the mail for illegal purposes in connection with a prostitution ring, and she was facing a bewildering 55 years behind bars. RICO is an acronym for the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, and it was originally designed to dismantle the Mafia, as RICO allows for mob bosses to be tried for crimes that were sanctioned on their behalf. Ms. Palfrey was merely running an escort service, so it seems that the RICO Act was prosecutorial overkill in her circumstances—unless, of course, prosecutors felt it was imperative to leverage her silence.
I, too, was merely running an escort service, but the U.S. Attorney for the District of D.C. walloped me with a 43-count RICO indictment. I was potentially staring at 295 years behind bars. I was also looking at the possibility of a $2 million fine, and, as I’ve previously mentioned, the feds were threatening to indict my mother.
Although my case and Ms. Palfrey’s share numerous parallels, a major point of divergence is the proficiency of our respective attorneys. D.C.-based attorney Montgomery Sibley represented Ms. Palfrey, and Greta Van Susteren represented me. Mr. Sibley vigorously defended Ms. Palfrey, but he had to contend with the feds judicial chicanery and sleight-of-hand. Ms. Palfrey’s initial trial judge had authorized Mr. Sibley’s subpoenas of the White House, State Department, CIA, etc., and he also authorized subpoenas for AT&T Mobility, Sprint/Nextel, T-Mobile USA, and Alltel, which would have mandated those carriers to provide Ms. Palfrey with the names and addresses of the individuals who contacted her escort service. Inexplicably, Ms. Palfrey’s initial trial judge was replaced by a judge who quashed Mr. Sibley’s subpoenas en masse, and thereby eviscerated the defense’s case.
At the outset of my case, Greta Van Susteren, seemed very committed to a vigorous defense on my behalf, and she deployed a nearly identical tactic as Mr. Sibley—she filed an eleven-page motion to mandate the release of my clientele list that the government had previously seized from me. Ms. Van Susteren argued that the names of my patrons should be released, because, if the government’s assertion was accurate and my “escort” service was, in actuality, a prostitution ring, my clients aided and abetted a criminal enterprise.
But the Assistant U.S. Attorney for D.C. vehemently contested Ms. Van Susteren’s motion and my trial judge sided with the prosecution and barred the public disclosure of my clientele. After my trial judge acquiesced to the U.S. Attorney’s office, Ms. Van Susteren started to change her tune, and she urged me to take the government’s plea bargain.
By then, my family and I had been subjected to a relentless campaign of terror, and I faced life in prison—I felt as if the feds were wielding the Sword of Damocles over my head. At Ms. Van Susteren’s behest, I accepted the government’s plea bargain. The feds also included a caveat that wasn’t overtly stated in my plea agreement: My 5-year sentence was based on the contingency that I not divulge a word about the particulars of my case to the media.
Conversely, Ms. Palfrey opted to fight City Hall, but the U.S. Attorney for D.C. triumphed in her case, and she was found guilty on all counts. As Ms. Palfrey awaited sentencing, she purportedly committed suicide. Ms. Palfrey’s death is mired in conjecture, rumor, and innuendo, and the Internet is rife with speculation that Ms. Palfrey’s suicide was indeed a murder.
Ms. Palfrey publicly stated on a handful of occasions that she would never commit suicide, which buttresses the contentions that she was murdered. Moreover, after Ms. Palfrey’s demise, an Orlando affiliate of CBS interviewed the building manager of the Park Lake Towers in Orlando, where Ms. Palfrey owned a condo. The building manager disclosed that he had talked to Ms. Palfrey just three days before her lifeless body was found in her mother’s aluminum shed. “Jeane Palfrey was a class act,” said the building manager. “Her way out of this world certainly would not have been in an aluminum shed attached to a mobile home in Tarpon Springs, Florida.” The manager also discussed a disturbing conversation that he had with Ms. Palfrey: “She insinuated that there is a contract out for her, and I fully believe they succeeded.”
The Washington Post was quick to declare that Palfrey had taken her own life—despite the possibility of indications to the contrary. I mention the latter point because the Washington Post reported a myriad of details about my case that were inaccurate—despite the possibility of indications to the contrary—or solely based on the word of federal law enforcement officials. Although I’m unwilling to speculate whether or not the death of Ms. Palfrey was a suicide or a murder, I feared for my life when I was a D.C. madam due to the threats discharged by government officials and also by individuals who were reportedly affiliated with the government.