The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

‘D.C. Madam’ lawyer starts fund to unseal records ‘relevant’ to the election

Attorney Montgomery Blair Sibley and and “D.C. Madam” Deborah Jeane Palfrey depart after a court hearing in Washington during her trial. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

The former attorney of the “D.C. Madam” likened himself Thursday to Paul Revere in his quest to unseal his late client’s phone records, which he said contain information “relevant” to the presidential election.

But Montgomery Blair Sibley turned to a tool that the Revolutionary War hero wouldn’t recognize, starting a GoFundMe campaign seeking donations to cover the $25,000 he says he needs to mount the legal battle. “I need a horse,” he says in a video on the solicitation page. “For the same reason Paul Revere needed a horse — so that I can spread the word through every Middlesex village and farm, for the country folk to be up and to be alarmed.”

Sibley’s fight has been more Quixote than Revere: Judge Richard Roberts of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia last month turned down his last bid to unseal the records. Sibley is barred from releasing them under the terms of a 2007 court order stemming from the case of Deborah Jeane Palfrey, the operator of an escort service who committed suicide in 2008 soon after she was found guilty of racketeering and money laundering.

Former lawyer for the ‘D.C. Madam’ says names in her records could be ‘relevant’ to election

Blair now says he hopes (with a little crowd-sourced cash) to appeal to air the records, which include 815 names of Palfrey’s presumed clients, plus the phone records of 40 other similar operations in the Washington area. (It could be a target-rich pool: During her trial, it was revealed that Sen. David Vitter’s phone number was in her little black book, and the Louisiana Republican later apologized for a “very serious sin.”)

“Those records contain information relevant to the 2016 presidential election,” Sibley says in the video. “I must continue this fight.”

But, seven days into the campaign, no one has joined Sibley in his quest. Since Feb. 24, he has raised $0.