Friday, April 11, 2008

what's the point?

Dana Milbank is clearly sympathetic to the women forced to testify in the DC Madam case. More sympathetic than the Metro pages in the Washington Post - Milbank doesn't use the women's names. Not also that the prosecutors are only forcing the working girls to testify - in public, stating their name and occupation (US Navy!) clearly for the public record. But at least so far, none of the male customers are being called up to testify in public. The prosecutions presentation of the case comes across as prurient. Worse yet, it looks like they are bullying these women.

And Milbank raises a good point about this trial:

From the audience, it appears that prosecutors have presented a solid case that the alleged Madam, Deborah Jeane Palfrey, did indeed run a prostitution ring. A better question, however, is why they bothered. Prosecutors say the prostitution ring generated all of $2 million over 13 years -- small potatoes for a federal racketeering and money-laundering case that could ruin the lives of 132 women.

That is small potatoes. That works out to $150,000 a year - before expenses, and divided among Palfrey and her employees. That is hardly a fortune. And they weren't robbing people, or selling drugs to 14-year olds, or killing anybody, or defrauding anyone.

Hell, I bet Enron stole $2 million from customers in California in a matter of hours by manipulating electricity supplies to generate artificial shortages.

So really - what's the point of this particular prosecution? I guess the prosecutors get to cover themselves in glory. Aren't there murderers they could go after instead? Or child-beaters?



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