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Today, the woman they call the DC Madam outlined her planned defense strategy in public for the first time. Deborah Jeane Palfrey is accused of running a high-dollar prostitution ring in Washington, D.C. She says it was a legal escort service and she expects to enlist some of the capital's top powerbrokers to help her make that case whether they like it or not.

NPR's Ari Shapiro reports.

ARI SHAPIRO: Deborah Jeane Palfrey says her defense strategy depends on an unusual ally - ABC News. She gave the network some of the telephone records for the escort service that she ran for 13 years. Now, Palfrey said reporters there are translating phone numbers into names. Here's part of what she said about the network outside of the federal courthouse in Washington after a hearing today.

Ms. DEBORAH JEANE PALFREY (Alleged "DC Madam"): I do expect their reporting to help identify potential witnesses for my defense. For me, this is an absolute necessity since the government has placed me in the untenable position whereby I do not have sufficient money to undertake this extraordinarily expensive task on my own.

SHAPIRO: One senior Bush administration official already resigned on Friday after ABC News identified him as one of Palfrey's clients. Randall Tobias ran foreign aid programs at the State Department. He told ABC he only received legitimate services like massages from the escorts he hired. Palfrey wants Tobias and others to say that on the witness stand.

Ms. PALFREY: Friday's admission by Mr. Tobias that he engaged in legal activity by a customer of my firm supports my position all along that I operated a sexual, albeit legal business for 13 years from 1993 to 2006.

SHAPIRO: Palfrey apologized to Tobias and his family, but she said she needs him to make her case. Palfrey's civil lawyer, Montgomery Blair-Sibley, said Tobias and others may have no choice but to testify in his client's behalf.

Ms. MONTGOMERY BLAIR-SIBLEY (Deborah Jeane Palfrey's civil lawyer): When they are served with a subpoena to appear and testify under oath, we expect them to tell the truth and they - we expect them to show up because nobody's above the law in this country as this case is rapidly pointing out.

SHAPIRO: According to the ABC News Web site, a list of customers who could become witnesses includes a Bush administration economist, the head of a conservative think tank, a prominent CEO, several lobbyists, and a handful of military officials. Earlier this month, Palfrey identified another customer as Harlan Ullman. He developed military strategies for the Iraq War during President Bush's first term. Ullman has said the allegation is beneath the dignity of comment.

Ari Shapiro, NPR News, Washington.

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