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NAMES IN THE NEWS : Hooker's Penthouse Pay Skimpy

February 06, 1990|From Times Staff and Wire Service Reports

NEW ORLEANS — Debra Murphree, the former prostitute whose liaison with preacher Jimmy Swaggart rocked an evangelical empire, has signed away three-quarters of the $210,000 that Penthouse paid for her story.

Murphree will receive about $54,000 for the article published in July, 1988, said Louis H. Schultz, her attorney. Agents, attorneys and the Internal Revenue Service will get the rest.

"She's happy. I talked with her on the telephone," Schultz said Monday.

Agents and the IRS had claimed they were owed $428,000 by Murphree, who claimed that the Baton Rouge-based TV evangelist was a regular customer in 1987.

However, Schultz said their figures were based on inflated estimates of the amount Penthouse owed for the article and a promotional tour and--in the IRS' $217,000 claim--for income from prostitution.

Murphree told Penthouse that Swaggart paid her $20 a visit to strike prurient poses and perform sexual acts.

Swaggart tearfully confessed to an unspecified "moral failure" and was subsequently defrocked by the Assemblies of God.

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