The D.C. Madam

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The story of her apparent* suicide is dominating the cable channels — predictably, given the salaciousness of the entire saga. But our colleague Adam Zagorin, in his sad story on TIME.com that reveals she had talked of ending her life, also raises an important question that the feds have never answered adequately: Why were they prosecuting her in the first place? As Adam notes:

Palfrey’s trial, which concluded in mid-April with a conviction, is one of very few such cases prosecuted in the federal courts. Most prostitution violations are dealt with at the state or municipal level, and attract little publicity. In the Palfrey case, prosecutors obliged a string of obviously embarrassed clients and employees of the escort service to appear on the witness stand and testify under oath.

*Thanks, Jayack, for reminding me that a qualifier is needed. Were you a city editor in some earlier life?

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