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Alleged D.C. madam apologizes to outed foreign aid official

WASHINGTON -- An accused Washington madam apologized Monday to a former top state department official who abruptly resigned after being outed as one of her clients.

But Deborah Jeane Palfrey, who faces charges of running a high-class call girl ring in the Washington, D.C., area from her California home, said it validates her decision to turn over to ABC News phone records that could unveil thousands of clients.

"My hope that defense witnesses could be found by combing through the information indeed is being realized," Palfrey said in a prepared statement outside the federal courthouse in Washington after a brief hearing.

[CAPTION=Deborah Jeane Palfrey, the alleged "DC Madam," leaves U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., with her attorney Montgomery Blair Sibley, left, after appearing before a federal judge on Monday. Photo: Jay Mallin/Bloomberg News]

Randall Tobias, who resigned Friday as head of the Bush administration's foreign aid programs, confirmed to ABC that he used Palfrey's escort firm, Pamela Martin & Associates, but said he only received legal services such as massages.

Palfrey and her civil attorney, Montgomery Blair Sibley, said they expect that Tobias will be subpoenaed to testify on her behalf.

On its Web site, ABC News reported Monday that the list of Palfrey's customers also includes a Bush administration economist, a prominent chief executive officer, the head of a conservative think tank, lobbyists and military officials.

Palfrey said she gave her phone records to ABC News so the network could identify clients who could then testify that the escorts performed legal services. Prosecutors, however, have accused Palfrey of seeking to intimidate witnesses by outing them publicly.

Sibley said he does not know how many people will be outed by ABC, which is planning to air a report Friday on its "20/20" news magazine.

"We don't know what ABC will do anymore than you do," Sibley said.

During Monday's hearing, U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler ordered that a new attorney be appointed for Palfrey, citing irreconcilable differences between her and public defender A.J. Cramer.

Kessler denied a request to appoint a specific lawyer requested by Palfrey. The judge also said Palfrey will no longer have to wear an electronic monitoring device that had been a condition of her pretrial release. She will be required to check in with pretrial services by phone three times a week.

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