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Call Her Madam -- and a Lot of Washington Nervous

Deborah Jeane Palfrey takes stock in her case.
Deborah Jeane Palfrey takes stock in her case. (By Nikki Kahn -- The Washington Post)

"Excuse me, Mr. Sibley," Kessler replied, evicting him from the defense table. "You are not in this case."

Palfrey wore a snug blue jacket, striped pants and 2 1/2 -inch heels. She had dangling teardrop earrings and heavy mascara, and lipstick applied to enhance her Cupid's bow. She sat quietly as Kessler granted her motion to dismiss her public defender but denied a request for $150,000 in taxpayer money to hire a new lawyer.

"You are operating under the Criminal Justice Act because of indigent issues," the judge explained. "It does not give you the right to select counsel."

Madam nodded her understanding and stole pouty glances at the spectators.

The judge spoke gently, as if addressing a child. "This is a serious criminal case, with serious charges, as Ms. Palfrey knows," she said, later adding, "You're a very intelligent person." Kessler even agreed to remove Palfrey's electronic monitoring, rejecting prosecution arguments that "the defendant has a history of flight." Only when prosecutors noted that Palfrey had already filed various pleadings before the appeals court and the Supreme Court did the judge gently suggest to the defendant that she might first consider "whether you want to ask for a hearing before me."

Madam nodded again, then left the defense table to go on the offensive in the courthouse plaza.

She began by saying "how genuinely sorry I am for Mr. Tobias," but she then made an example of him for the other clients in the "46 pounds of telephone invoices" she is releasing. "My hope [that] defense witnesses could be found by combing through the information indeed is being realized," she said, scolding Tobias and the "many, many others who have used my company's services" for not coming forward to defend her.

"How can this be described as anything else but blackmail?" one of the reporters asked.

"I call that due process of law, sir," Sibley shot back.

"What about the argument that this is witness intimidation?" asked The Washington Post's Carol Leonnig, seeking to direct the question to Palfrey.

"Everyone would like to hear Jeane and none of you will," Sibley answered.

Gabe Caggiano of "Inside Edition" tried to question Palfrey again as she left. "Unprofessional!" roared Sibley. "Please do not have 'Inside Edition' call me again." With that, the madam, her lawyer, her photographer and her biographer sped off in a black sedan.

Shares of Dolby Laboratories fell 2.07 points, to 35.42, on the New York Stock Exchange.

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