Will D.C. Madam’s Infamous “Little Black Book” Emerge?

DC Madam, Little Black Book
The Little Black Book Photo Credit: Adapted by WhoWhatWhy from Vince42 / Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0)
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Yes, Madam. Call us crazy, but we do think it’s a little strange when a person ends up dead exactly the way they said would never happen. Especially if that person was in possession of documents that could topple the careers of hundreds of powerful people.

“D.C. Madam” Deborah Jeane Palfrey said she would never commit suicide.

Now, to be sure, we know that some people who make such declarations do go on to kill themselves. And we know that no physical evidence was reported that proved Palfrey was murdered.

Still, we find her death worth a closer look. Especially since she said, shortly before her death, that someone had put out a contract on her.

Her death was two election cycles ago, but now, her little black book is in the news again. Which is all to the good, in our opinion. Any attention to her rather suspicious death is more than welcome.

Palfrey’s lawyer Montgomery Blair Sibley, a character in his own right, is asking to have a previous gag order lifted so he can release the names in that little book. He says it will throw the Presidential election out of orbit.

Let’s go back in time…Dubya was still president and you had probably not yet heard the name Sarah Palin. In May of 2008, the owner of Pamela Martin and Associates, a.k.a. the D.C. Madam, was found hanged just before she was due to be sentenced on federal racketeering and various prostitution charges.

While it’s good the papers are giving space to her death, the Daily Mail and other outlets continue to call it suicide, without even mentioning the fact that the woman said she would never kill herself. In such an instance, it certainly could be murder — and one ought to investigate, or at least support an investigation.  

The Madam did have that little book listing over 800 clients that used her company’s, ahem, services. Powerful D.C. types. Many careers jackknifed over Palfrey’s phone records (paging Louisiana Sen. David Vitter and Randall L. Tobias), prompting some to confess or resign. Imagine what the actual book of names would do? (Are visions of Ashley Madison dancing in your head?)

And so, when the woman with the key to this many powerful people’s lives dies “in an aluminum shed attached to a mobile home in Tarpon Springs, Florida,” in the way she said would never happen, we do think it’s… noteworthy.

“I’m planning on going into court and defending myself vigorously and exposing the government,” she said, a month or so before her alleged suicide.  Then she was convicted and facing jail time. Was that enough of a reason for her to do herself in?

The fact is that her death took potential problems for many people right off the table. That little black book with all those names of powerful folks was put under lock and key, never to be released.

And lest you think the Madam was the only one in her operation that ended up in a looks-like-suicide-but-people-don’t-buy-it scenario, her former call girl Brandy Britton met the same fate a year or so earlier, something Palfrey was well aware of,  stating in an interview,  “I don’t want to be like her. I don’t want to end up like her.”

Not clear is whether ABC News still has rights to the famous black book, as reported here in 2007.

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