April 16, 2008

DC Madam Deborah Jeane Palfrey found guilty by federal jury , by Matt Janovic

Washington D.C.--It's over...or is it? Is this story ever over? It certainly hasn't been for me since early-June of last year. There will, of course, be an appeals process, but will it lead anywhere? That's unlikely. For the record, I was employed for the defense in December of 2007 to do specific research. An interesting fact is that I was finally paid by the federal defender's office the day the trial began, on April 7th. The likelihood is that the prosecution didn't want any openings for a claim of an unfair trial and that proper resources weren't allocated to the defendant.

The research was factual not legal. This is why I generally stopped writing on the story. To do so would have been a conflict of interest. I know this doesn't bother many in Washington, the press, or in corporate boardrooms, but it bothers me. And the "Johns"? They get their free-pass as usual. Guilty? It's a matter of degree. There were other players here, and most of them never had to testify, because that's how Washington works (or doesn't, depending on your viewpoint).

It's my hope that the defendant releases myself and others to disseminate the raw-materials we may have uncovered. It's also hoped she can provide further context for these materials. The heat's off for the politicians and defense contractors for now, but a window was opened here. Now that the defense on the technicalities surrounding money laundering, racketeering, and prostitution charges have all failed, it's possible that there's more-to-come. She pulled-her-punches for a defense strategy that wasn't going to go anywhere; that's the cold, hard truth. It's up to her now, unless most of this has been a bluff. But has it?

I don't think that's the case: we've seen very real damage inflicted on the Bush administration and her appointees. There has been a political body count, a record that Congress should envy. We saw the downing of now former USAID director Randall Tobias at the State Department, and much needed pressure applied on Senator David Vitter for his illegal solicitation of prostitutes in multiple-locations.

We've seen people like Harlan Ullman--the military strategist who devised the "shock and awe" strategy used in the invasion of Iraq--dragged into the spotlight, and quite a few others. For many of them, this story is never going to end, and it never should. It should dog them for the rest of their lives. The fact that many of their former phone numbers are now in the public record is a victory. Did I always think she was guilty? That's not exactly the right question.

Does the verdict prove Palfrey's guilt? Ask me some time. What I believe to be certain is this: the prosecution and the defendant did their best to drag the process out for different reasons. Deborah Jeane Palfrey was found guilty by a federal jury on tax day. This had to end months before the 2008 elections, but also had to continue long enough to limit any potential damage to the White House and the GOP in a general sense. Tax day. It all makes a certain sense.

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