Major prostitution case sees powerful male ‘clients’ escape witness box, while women interrogated

The “DC Madam” trial, which already felled US politician Eliot Spitzer, has taken a turn for the even-worse, we learn from the Washington Post, by way of Jill at Feministe.

It transpires that numerous politicians who were apparently ‘clients’ will not be forced to testify. Senator David Vitter, who Jill describes as “a right-wing ‘family values’ crusader and abstinence-only indoctrination architect”, is one of the men who will not be dragged into the court room and made to explain himself, in graphic detail.

However, the prosecution is forcing 15 women who worked as prostitutes to testify, including a naval officer who the Post says will “almost certainly” see her career come to an abrupt halt, and a 63 year-old retired PhD. The prosecution wants to make public the names of over 100 women who once worked for the madam. For what reason, other than to attempt to shame them? This is really disgusting.

On the interregation of the naval officer:

The prosecutor, Daniel Butler, had the woman spell her name slowly and clearly, then had her talk about when she was “aggressive” with a client, when she was “more submissive,” when she had a difficult client (“he tried to remove the condom”) and how often she got “intimate.”

“What do you mean by ‘intimate’? ”

The soon-to-be-former naval officer looked at him in disbelief. “Touching, caressing,” she explained.

“What happened” after that? he demanded.


“What type of sex?”

“Sometimes it was oral sex; usually it was normal.”

“Normal?” Butler persisted.

“I’m not sure what you’re getting at,” the stricken witness pleaded.

“What’s normal sex?” Butler again demanded.

Judge James Robertson intervened. “He wants to know if you mean intercourse.”

Butler pressed on with more humiliating questions until the judge cut him off. “That’s enough,” Robertson said. Minutes later, the dazed woman was helped out of the room.

From the audience, it appears that prosecutors have presented a solid case that the alleged Madam, Deborah Jeane Palfrey, did indeed run a prostitution ring. A better question, however, is why they bothered. Prosecutors say the prostitution ring generated all of $2 million over 13 years — small potatoes for a federal racketeering and money-laundering case that could ruin the lives of 132 women.

It gets worse:

Wednesday, Connelly was grilling the 63-year-old former escort. “Did you specifically discuss what happened when you went in the shower?” the prosecutor wanted to know.

The witness explained, “I was having sex.”

“What would happen if you were menstruating?” Connelly asked.

What possible function does it serve to make these women answer such questions? While the men who bought them may have to deal with the scandal of being associated with a prostitution case, but are not being forced to dole out the details on the public record. Awful.