Alleged D.C. Madam Wants New Attorney

By Carol D. Leonnig
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, August 23, 2007; 6:12 PM

The alleged D.C. Madam and her court-appointed attorney want to part ways, according to papers filed today. She says they have "irreconcilable differences" that make it impossible for him to properly defend her against charges of running a prostitution ring.

It's the second attorney that Deborah Jeane Palfrey says she can't abide, after asking to have veteran public defender A.J. Kramer removed as her lawyer in the spring. Her current counsel, Preston Burton, recently filed a motion under seal explaining why he wishes to withdraw from the case.

U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler agreed to keep the arguments for a split under wraps, saying she wanted to protect Palfrey's privacy and avoid prejudicing her defense.

Palfrey, of California, is accused of running a ring of prostitutes who serviced upscale clients in the Washington area for 13 years. She has claimed she was running a legitimate escort service which provided legal fantasies for its male customers, but not actual sex.

Burton declined to comment today on the reasons for wanting to part company with Palfrey. Palfrey said in her motion that she wants to be represented by her longtime civil attorney, Montgomery Blair Sibley. Kessler has not yet decided whether to approve the change.

© 2007 The Washington Post Company