Tarpon Springs, Florida--The mother of the deceased DC Madam, Deborah Jeane Palfrey, is suing to keep crime scene photographs sealed. Blanche Palfrey has requested that photographs of Palfrey's corpse at the scene of discovery as well as autopsy photos be permanently kept from publication.
But who would want to publish them? Not this writer, but someone Jeane Palfrey referred to frequently to this writer as a "bastard," one Bill Bastone, editor of The Smoking Gun website.
"The only media or public interest in said photographs flows from a morbid exploitation by some members of the public and the pursuit of sensationalism by some members of the media," the lawsuit states.
As of today the only entity that has requested the photographs is SmokingGun.com, said Capt. Jeff Young of the Tarpon Springs Police Department.
The department has not released any photographs or police reports on Deborah Palfrey's suicide because the investigation isn't finished, but it should be in a matter of days, authorities say.
When that day comes, the agency is expected to release whatever documentation it is obligated to under Florida public records laws, said Jim Yacavone, the attorney for Tarpon Springs. ("D.C. Madam's Mother Sues to Stop Release of Photos," TBO.com/Tampa Bay Online, 08.07.2008)I cannot disagree with Mrs. Palfrey's and her counsel's reasoning, and she wouldn't be the only one upset by their release. The photographs won't add to any knowledge of the case for the record, and nothing will be learned from them. It's just a move by gawkers and exploiters to make money (like Alex Jones, and others...).The DC Madam's relationship with The Smoking Gun and Bastone is a peculiar one. They were the very first media outlet to pick-up on the story. Palfrey informed this writer on several occasions that she felt Bastone had been illegally "tipped-off" by federal investigators and prosecutors on her case in order to taint her and her ability to receive a fair trial through articles containing selective leaks.Bastone's first article appeared on October 9th (http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/1009061hook1.html)
. Palfrey claimed that The Smoking Gun editor contacted her on her cell phone while she was in Germany on October 6th, just two days after her home was being searched by federal agents. How did Bastone have her private cell phone number at that time?More importantly: how was he made aware of the investigation and pertinent details of it? Palfrey thought it was leaks by the prosecution until her untimely end. The articles contain the theme of an assumption of guilt on the part of Bastone.From December 1st, 2006:As we first reported, federal investigators are probing the operator of a Washington, D.C. escort service that sent college-educated prostitutes to the homes and hotel rooms of well-heeled clients. In a new court filing, federal prosecutors offer an amusing glimpse into how madam Deborah Jeane Palfrey ran her escort business, which she started in 1993 and ran until about three months ago. When Internal Revenue Service agents raided Palfrey's California home, they recovered newsletters that Palfrey distributed to her stable of whores at Pamela Martin & Associates. (' "Pro-fessional Tips, Feds: Alleged D.C. madam sent newsletters to her stable of whores," The Smoking Gun, 12.01.2006)Indeed, Palfrey was guilty, but this was over a year before her belated trial. It was before she ever charged officially with racketeering, which came in March of 2007. There are no federal laws against prostitution.
The Smoking Gun's editor wrote in his first piece from October, 2006:But Palfrey did speculate that she may have come to the attention of federal agents because her operation had somehow intersected with a more high profile case, like that of convicted ex-congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham. Investigators are reportedly examining charges that a defense contractor provided hookers to Cunningham as part of an influence-peddling scheme. Palfrey did not claim a nexis between her escort service and Cunningham, but invoked the disgraced pol's name while saying that she would wager that the basis for the federal probe of her business "had solely to do with some Duke Cunningham-type bigwig client that got caught up in something and started to say, 'Do you know this?' and 'Do you know that?' And that he might have been able to lead them to somebody." ("New D.C. Sex Scandal Looming?" The Smoking Gun, 10.09.2006)Yet Palfrey claimed that it was Bastone who first dropped the name of now convicted former GOP congressman Randall "Duke" Cunningham, not the opposite. J-7 invites Mr. Bastone to produce the interview tape to clear up this issue, and others, though it's doubtful that he ever will.
Ironically, my own research for the defense focused on the "Cunningham angle," one that Palfrey summarily dropped towards the end of the run-up to trial in March of this year. Bastone's--and Tru TV's--site is the only outlet to have requested the death photos of Palfrey, a curious move by those with a potentially unscrupulous relationship with her prosecutors.
If it's true that Bastone had a "relationship" with the IRS, Postal Inspectors, the FBI, or the Justice Department (take your pick), then his credibility is seriously in question (nothing new). Palfrey sent this to myself and her then-attorney, the inimitable Montgomery Blair Sibley on December 23rd, 2007:Blair… if you ever doubt that my case is politically motivated OR simply “can’t go there” with the mounting circumstantial evidence of selective prosecution, I would ask that you read the highlighted portion below in particular, from Bil earlier today. Never forgot that son-of-a bitch, Bill Bastone’s first question to me in Germany, just days after the warrant was executed on my property had to do with Cunningham and Bastone’s insistence that I professionally knew the “Dukester”; this, despite my continued statements to the contrary. -JeaneMr. Bastone was questioned for this piece on how he had obtained Palfrey's cell phone number and whether she'd dropped Cunningham's name first in the impromptu interview from Germany (there might have been multiple-contacts, one possibly during an in-transit flight) in early-October of 2006. Bastone refused to comment in any detail stating in an email, "Thanks for your note. However, we don't discuss our interviews or reporting process."
Considering that the information might have been leaked illegally by a federal agent or official, that's understandable. At least his response was prompt."D.C. Madam's Mother Sues to Stop Release of Photos," TBO.com/Tampa Bay Online, 08.07.2008: http://www2.tbo.com/content/2008/aug/07/dc-madams-mother-sues-stop-release-photos/"New D.C. Sex Scandal Looming?" The Smoking Gun, 10.09.2006: http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/1009061hook1.html' "Pro-fessional Tips, Feds: Alleged D.C. madam sent newsletters to her stable of whores," The Smoking Gun, 12.01.2006: http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/1201061palfrey1.html
Added-value Postscript, 08.09.2008: Here's an exchange with Bill Bastone, ostensible editor of The Smoking Gun. Isn't he charming? Yeah, I'm not either, but that's how it goes. Eat and enjoy!
On Fri, Aug 8, 2008 at 4:29 PM, Matt Janovic <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
Dear Mr. Bastone:
On October 9th, you penned a piece on Ms. Palfrey where you alleged that she dropped the name of Randy Cunningham during your talk with her.
I would like to know the following: 1.) How did you obtain her private cell phone number, and 2.) do you still contend that she dropped the name of Mr. Cunningham first--she contended otherwise, that you said it first.
kind regards, Matt Janovic, private researcher
Then... (isn't our cause-and-effect universe thrilling?):
----- Original Message -----Sent: 8/8/2008 4:36:55 PMSubject: Re: Jeane Palfrey
Thanks for your note. However, we don't discuss our interviews or reporting process.
TSGOn Fri, Aug 8, 2008 at 6:01 PM, Matt Janovic <email@example.com> wrote:
Dear Mr. Bastone:
So the prosecution never briefed you on Ms. Palfrey's case in October of 2006? Are you a "friendly asset" of federal investigators?
kind regards, Matt JanovicYet...Matt:
Seriously, what part of "we don't discuss our interviews or reporting process" did not register?No need for another response. [Ed.--Awwwwww, sure there is...]Bill BastoneTSG
Ed.--I won't bore you with the rest, and I certainly won't be writing Bastone again anytime soon, but suffice it to say that he was told for the several thousandth time that he was a jerk and an exploiter (in sharper words). Gotham City is not safer with this man on the beat. He sure doesn't like it when the mic is pointed in the other direction.