THE so-called DC Madam accused of running an upscale Washington escort agency said today she was "sorry" that a top official had been outed as her client, but vowed thousands more names would be revealed unless charges against her are dropped.
Deborah Jeane Palfrey, who is facing charges of running a $US300 ($360) an hour prostitution service for 13 years, appeared in a Washington court overnight for a preliminary hearing.
Ms Palfrey denies doing anything illegal through her business, Pamela Martin and Associates, but has said she has a record of the phone numbers of thousands of more than 10,000 customers that could embarrass more than a few of the US capital's high-fliers.
On Saturday, the head of the US Agency for International Development (USAID), Randall Tobias, resigned for personal reasons, but ABC news said he stepped down after the network contacted him about using the service.
"Deputy Secretary of State Randall L Tobias was a customer of my previous business, Pamela Martin & Associates," Ms Palfrey said.
"Allow me to say how genuinely sorry I am for Mr Tobias, his family and his friends," Ms Palfrey said outside the courtroom.
But Ms Palfrey promised her telephone records - all 21kg of them - would be revealed unless the charges against her are dropped.
She appeared in court overnight in a sombre mood that matched her dark-blue ensemble, hair simply pulled back and bright red lipstick the only decorative touch as she sat at the defence table.
Then things got difficult. Judge Gladys Kessler tossed out her civil lawyer, replaced him with a public defender whom Ms Palfrey rejected and then denied her motion that the government cough up $US150,000 ($181,000) to pay the lawyer of her choice.
Ms Palfrey argued she had no funds available as her three homes and several cars have been seized by the government.
However, Judge Kessler ordered that an electronic monitoring anklet be removed that a California court had forced Ms Palfrey to wear so she would not flee from another case.
Despite the setbacks, Ms Palfrey said she was pleased with the hearing.
"I got the electronic monitor off, so things are going in the right direction," Ms Palfrey said.
Ms Palfrey has maintained that her business offered "sexual fantasies" as one of many so-called escort services that fill a dozen or so pages of Washington telephone directories.