The Improbability of the D.C. Madam's Suicide

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In 2005, 20.2 percent of women who committed suicide in the United States did so by hanging, strangulation, or suffocation.  In 2004, the rate was 19.7 percent.  Proceeding upon the reasonable assumption that the lion's share of those were by hanging because it is easier to accomplish than either of the other two, that still means that Deborah Jeane Palfrey, the so-called D.C. Madam, if she really killed herself, used a relatively unpopular method to do it after having been convicted of prostitution-related activities by a federal jury in Washington, D.C.  Poisons, at 39.1% in 2005 and firearms, at 31.0%, were much more popular methods for women to do themselves in.

The probability that she hanged herself decreases dramatically when other factors in the case are considered.  Only recently have we learned that a Maryland woman who is said to have hanged herself in January or 2007 shortly before she was to go to trial for prostitution, Brandy Britton, had been an employee of Palfrey's escort service, Pamela Martin and Associates.  By the laws of probability, if there is a one in five chance of an event, the chance of the event happening again at random is one-fifth times one-fifth, or one chance in twenty-five.  Those are the kind of odds that would pay off very handsomely at a track if applied to the chances of a horse winning a race.  

Then we have the chances that these two women would have been singled out for prosecution in the first place.  That was a subject that we addressed in a previous article.  If you're out to crack down on the prostitution business, do you go after "escort services" with large, salacious-looking advertisements in the telephone Yellow Book with names like "Escorts Exxxtreme," "Experience Ecstassy," "A One Night Stand," "Bad Girls," "Passionate Playmates," or "Klimaxxx," or do you prosecute the very low profile Pamela Martin and Associates?  Similarly, among the hundreds of employees that these companies have, why was Brandy Britton singled out for prosecution?  In fact, even though the press told us their names as they were paraded to the witness stand in the Palfrey trial to establish that the Pamela Martin business was really a prostitution ring, it seems that none of these women are looking at any jail time for what they have admitted to doing, because, apparently, none of them are going to be charged with anything.  

Small wonder it is, then, that Palfrey had told reporter Neil Augenstein of WTOP in Washington, as Augenstein reported after the suicide on May 1, that she thought that "someone in the government had targeted her for prosecution."   Looking at her prosecution and that of Ms. Britton in the larger context, one could say that that was true almost by definition.  With the revelation of the other selective prosecution and the other very similar "suicide," the speculation of our earlier article looks all the better.  That is, that one of Palfrey's call girls, backed up by Palfrey, had somehow run afoul of someone very powerful, vicious, and vindictive in the upper reaches of the government.

Other reports (See "ABC News Shielding Cheney after DC Madam Hanging?", The Prissy Patriot, "Palfrey Suicide: Wayne Madsen Goes On Record Against Cheney," and "9/11 Conspiracy Connection to DC Madam Murder" ) have indicated who the person or persons might be as well as the high level skulduggery, beyond the realm of sex, that might have been involved.  Again, as we noted in the first article, when what we are being told by the government and the corporate press makes absolutely no sense, it is only natural that we should look for better, more plausible explanations.  In that vein, we might draw the conclusion from the hangings of Britton and Palfrey that their prosecutions were not so off-the-wall as they might seem.  If the decision had been reached that they were to "commit suicide," there needed to be a motive.  The prosecutions provided that motive...and hanging provided the means.

With sufficiently cooperative press and authorities, shooting, poisoning, falls from high places, beatings, almost any form of murder can be made to look like a suicide, but, for a skilled assassin, hanging is particularly easy.  The victim, particularly if she is a small woman, can easily be rendered unconscious by a garroting cord or a good choke hold and then hanged to administer the coup de grace.  

Speaking of skilled assassins, one should not forget that prostitution and the spook business, for fairly obvious reasons, have had a close relationship with one another for about as long as those old professions have been practiced.  The likely involvement of the clandestine community would be a very good explanation as to why virtually nothing we have been told in this case rings true.

Corrupt Press Gives Away the Game

The national reporting on Palfrey's death also is a strong indicator of high-level malfeasance.  The suicide doubts of people close to Palfrey, like those of the building manager in Florida, where Palfrey owned a condominium, have been confined only to local reporting, as was the report that Palfrey believed that she had been targeted, first for prosecution and then for murder.  Meanwhile, Time magazine was trotting out the noted cover-up author, Dan Moldea, to give a national audience this suicide-sealing quote: "She wasn't going to jail, she told me that very clearly. She told me she would commit suicide."

Online reporter, Alex Jones, has reminded us of Moldea's penchant for fabricating quotes as exhibited in his book, The Killing of Robert F. Kennedy.   If anything, his cover-up efforts were even more egregious in A Washington Tragedy, How the Death of Vincent Foster Ignited a Political FirestormSee my dissection of his work in "More on Truth Suppression," "Dan Moldea's America," "Moldea on Foster, Whitewater, and Impeachment," and part 5 of "America's Dreyfus Affair, the Case of the Death of Vincent Foster" (Scroll down to the section headed "Spin-Doctor Moldea.")

The very fact that someone like Moldea has ingratiated himself into the case on the side of the authorities, in itself, reduces the probability that Deborah Palfrey's death was a simple suicide down to the level of the infinitesimal.  One might also regard it as a measure of the degree of desperation to keep the lid on something that must be really important and damaging to the powers that be.*

The Public's Protection

In the earlier article we exhibited the faint hope that the jury in Palfrey's federal trial would take a cue from the Fully Informed Jury Association  and find her not guilty, not because she didn't violate the laws as charged but simply because it was the right thing to do and they had the power to do it.  With today's general state of civic education, of course, it was a forlorn hope.  Palfrey might have been suicided all the same, but in the absence of a plausible motive, it would have taxed the powers of even our press to sell it to the public.

If the federal grand jury that indicted Palfrey had been aware of its powers and had been inclined to use them, some of the key questions that we have been asking here might have been answered early in the process and the tables might have been turned. 

Although the power of the grand jury in the United States has been diminished, it is still a powerful tool available to the citizens. Grand jurors can issue subpoenas and question witnesses and they may pursue an investigation anywhere it leads. Grand jurors can even subpoena and question federal prosecutors. They can write a report and ask the judge to make the report public. Grand jurors still have the power to refuse to indict citizens. 

Wouldn't you like to know how the prosecutor who brought Palfrey before the grand jury would have responded if put on the stand and asked, under threat of perjury, why Pamela Martin Associates was singled out as a prostitution business and who really ordered the prosecution?

Assistant U.S. attorney and former associate Independent Counsel Miquel Rodriguez was once asked if the members of a grand jury would be able to protect the public from corrupt officials, he replied, “they’re all you’ve got.” Rodriguez advised, “empowering the grand jury, [by] letting them know what they can demand, what they should be wary of, what their independent subpoena powers are, whether they have the authority to ask questions on their own in the grand jury. The real check and balance is the grand jury, the common person, selected at random.” 

It is indeed a slender reed to lean on for protection against tyranny and injustice, but for Brandy Britton and Deborah Jeane Palfrey, it was really all they had.

David Martin, May 14, 2008

* On May 25 I received the following email, with the subject, "DC Dave: Still irresponsible," from Mr. Moldea:

Not that I think you're interested in showing any fairness towards me, but here is my side of the bogus Sirhan-fabricated-quote story:  Please note that there is a link to a signed document from the person who actually gave me the quote--thus, I couldn't have fabricated it.  (See:  I'd appreciate you adding this to your bogus May 14 post--which essentially and irresponsibly accuses me of participating in a cover-up of Jeane Palfrey's murder. 

And, just in case you're interested, here's my ongoing webpage about Jeane suicide:

BTW:  During the past ten years since the publication of my book on Vincent Foster's suicide--which you have spent so much time trashing--I haven't seen anything to indicate that this, too, was anything but another case of suicide.  Have you moved the case-for-murder forward at all?

I responded as follows on May 27:

I won't claim credit for it, but I believe that the case for murder and cover-up (the latter participated in by my current correspondent) in the Foster case has been moved past the point of retrieval by any number of paid propagandists by the Miquel Rodriguez tapes, which you can see here:  Your book predated the release of those tapes, I believe.  I'm sure that Rodriguez would have told you everything that is in those tapes for inclusion in your book had you shown any interest, by the way.

As for the Robert Kennedy matter, I think your quarrel is with Jim DiEugenio, who is the cited source of Alex Jones's fabrication charge.  However, I will gladly add a note referencing your rebuttal, with your link.  I still stand completely behind everything that I have written about your work on the Foster case, and, of course, I would have to remind my readers of that.

Consider yourself reminded, dear reader.  A review of my articles on Moldea's appalling work on the matter of the Vince Foster death, referenced above, would be timely at this point.

My reply elicited no response from Moldea.  After a few days, I decided to take Moldea up on his offer and read what he has had to say on the Palfrey matter on his web site.  That examination prompted me to email Moldea again on May 31 as follows:

Mr. Moldea,

 I am, indeed, interested in everything you have to say about the Palfrey case, so I have duly checked out your Palfrey page.  I have a question related to the interview you gave on May 10 on national television, specifically this passage:

MOLDEA:  "I received information from a very reliable source in this matter.  And I gave this information to the police yesterday morning--That Jeane had tried to kill herself prior to this after her conviction.  She had gone to Orlando shortly after she returned to Florida.  She had taken an intentional overdose, and it failed.  In the wake of the failure of her overdose to end her life, she went back to Tarpon Springs, and she hung herself."

Is there any good reason why that "very reliable source" needs to remain anonymous?  After all, he or she is only reinforcing the official suicide conclusion, so there should be no fear of recriminations here.  What makes you think the source is reliable?   Did you get any more details from that source?  Overdose of what?  Why did it fail?  Usually in such cases, the person is discovered unconscious, they are rushed to the hospital, the stomach is pumped out, and other life-saving measures are taken.  Did any of that occur in this instance?  If so, could you give them to me so I can check out the record for myself?  If not, why not?  Did you ask any of these questions to your source?  If so, how did the source respond?  If you didn't ask such questions, why not?

And please don't give me anything about your complete credulousness in the face of such a "reliable source."  It would be unworthy of a serious investigative reporter.  But speaking of such unworthiness, I am all too aware of how you characterized Joseph Goulden in your book when he told researcher Hugh Sprunt that it was his personal opinion that Vince Foster committed suicide:  "...a respected award-winning journalist and the former Washington bureau chief of the Philadelphia Inquirer, was also the bestselling author of sixteen books."

That is what is known as argument by authority (No. 7 in the 17 techniques for truth suppression  At least your "authoritative source" in this case was not anonymous.  But left unsaid by you were Goulden's manifest connections to the spook community, which I reveal at in the passage directly after the quote from your book.  Goulden's spook connections are certainly germane, because lying and deception is what such people are all about.

In addition, don't you think that it was rather unprofessional of CNN's Rick Sanchez to let you make such a totally unsupported allegation before a vast public without asking any to the basic questions that I am asking you now?  Doesn't this failure make Sanchez come across more as a propagandist than a serious journalist?

I'm sorry, but to me this new allegation of yours, until some hard verification is forthcoming, is all too reminiscent of Drew Pearson's completely bogus claim that former Secretary of Defense James Forrestal had attempted to commit suicide on four separate occasions before he purportedly came up with the failsafe method of hanging himself out of a 16th floor window.

By the way, it seems that you and I have more in common than a mutual interest in the Foster and Palfrey cases.  I have also been banished from Free Republic, as has our mutual acquaintance, Hugh Turley, and, if memory serves, your Foster-case antagonist, Mike Rivero. (Rivero, in a later email exchange, confirmed that he has been banned from Free Republic.  The tendency of Free Republic makes me want to paraphrase an old Eastern European joke about "republics" and "people's republics."  What's the difference between a republic and Free Republic?  The same as the difference between a jacket and a strait jacket.)

David Martin

p.s.  The past tense of "hang," in the instance of hanging by the neck, is "hanged," not "hung."

That got Moldea's attention, and he responded on the same day as follows:

After the "reliable source" gave me the information about Jeane's previous attempt to end her own life, I passed it along to the police--with the permission of the source.  The police immediately interviewed the source, who repeated what he/she had told me.  I'm going to let police officials vouch for the source's veracity when they release the details of their investigation.

If you want to attack me for this, feel free.  As usual, you'll be wrong.  To date, no one from the police or Jeane's family have challenged anything I said during that very brief interview on CNN.

Moldea's failure to answer any of what I consider to be quite reasonable questions prompted me to respond immediately as follows:

Can you at least be a bit more specific about those "police officials?"  Why do I think we'll be waiting a long time for them to go public with this revelation?  Why don't you just tell us your source?  What's the big secret?

And that was the last word between us.  May I remind the readers that it is really not up to the "police," whichever those police might be or Palfrey's family to "challenge" Moldea on his assertion.  Now that the public claim has been made that Palfrey had previously attempted suicide, it is up to the press to confirm it or disprove it.  But with all of their vast resources for getting to the bottom of the question, they have remained silent.  Their silence speaks volumes.

Now I ask you, if Deborah Jeane Palfrey really did commit suicide, why was it felt necessary for such an incredible, unsupported story of a previous suicide attempt to be trotted out?

David Martin, June 10, 2008



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