The US Supreme Court declined to intervene in a former lawyer's request to release records of a woman who ran a high-priced escort service in Washington that he claimed "could be relevant" to the 2016 presidential election.
Without comment, the court denied a stay sought by Montgomery Blair Sibley, who had asked to be released from a lower court restraining order that barred him from sharing the records of Deborah Jeane Palfrey, known as the "DC Madam."
Sibley represented Palfrey, who committed suicide in 2008 after being found guilty of racketeering and money laundering in connection with the service.
Restraining orders stemming from Palfrey's federal case bar Sibley from releasing records he says he has kept, including names, Social Security numbers and addresses of 815 of Palfrey's former clients and phone records of 40 other escort services operating in the Washington area.
In February, Richard Roberts, who was chief judge of the US District Court for the District, denied Sibley permission to file a request to lift the court order. Rogers noted that Sibley was terminated from Palfrey's civil case and has been suspended from practicing before the federal court in Washington since May 2008.
"Why Sibley would have possession of subpoenaed records in a case from which he has been terminated and why he would not instead have turned all copies of them over to the defendant's continuing counsel of record is not set forth in the motion," Roberts wrote.
Then-senator David Vitter, a Republican of Louisiana, apologised in July 2007 after his telephone number appeared in the phone records released by Palfrey, prompting the court order.
Sibley in a recent court filing identified 174 entities - but not individuals - whose phone lines he said were used to call Palfrey's service, Pamela Martin & Associates, between 2000 and 2006, including those belonging to numerous federal agencies, foreign embassies and major companies.
Sibley did not return messages for comment about his reaction to the Supreme Court decision or his plans for the records.