DOCUMENT: Celebrity

D.C. Madam's Suicidal Thoughts

Palfrey pondered killing self after early-90s prostitution bust

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D.C. Madam's Suicidal Thoughts

MAY 1--Deborah Palfrey, the so-called D.C. Madam who today committed suicide at her mother's Florida home, once told a California judge that she "seriously considered" killing herself following her arrest in a felony pimping case in the early-1990s.

The 52-year-old Palfrey, whose body was found hanging in a shed near her mother Blanche's Tarpon Springs home, was convicted last month of racketeering and money laundering in connection with her operation of an escort service that catered to Washington insiders, including Republican Senator David Vitter.

Palfrey's federal collar came 16 years after she took her first pimping conviction in San Diego Superior Court. Before her sentencing in that case, Palfrey filed a court memorandum claiming that she had "thoughts of suicide" and experienced "Vietnam-like flashbacks" as a result of persecution at the hands of San Diego police. Suicide, she noted, was a "viable option." An excerpt from Palfrey's June 1992 court filing can be found here, while the entire document, which details her personal history, is here.

In arguing that she deserved probation and not incarceration, Palfrey stated that she was "not a criminal" and "not prison material." She also promised, "I will not re-enter the escort business." Though she claimed to have "suffered enough," Palfrey was eventually sentenced to 18 months in state prison.

Palfrey was scheduled to be sentenced in late-July for her recent convictions and, based on federal guidelines, faced upwards of six years in prison. (6 pages)