blog description

Topics relate to adult business, the War on Drugs, political prosecutions, censorship, and police, prosecutorial, and judicial misconduct

Smiling Faces - The Undisputed Truth

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Adult Business Prosecutions: From Southwest Companions to Classy DC Escorts


Anyone that has read this blog before is already aware I am not offering an unbiased middle-of-the-road take on adult business prosecutions in the US. I am almost always on the side of the defense; however, I only cover cases in which I have some reason to believe there's more to the story.

To me it was obvious that the Southwest Companions prosecution in Albuquerque, New Mexico was fraught with serious issues and selective. I felt similarly regarding the Classy DC Escorts case, though for different reasoning. If you followed my blog during the Orlando conspiracy trial of 11 defendants from Eastern Europe that was originally dubbed a “Russian sex trafficking ring,” then you are aware that I was appalled at every aspect of the prosecution and often stated so in my posts that included case documents.

Most posts from that Orlando conspiracy trial were removed at the request of a couple of defendants' family members. The request was granted because the 11 defendants were all around 25 years old and must be able to have a life when each returns home to Moldova, Ukraine, and Russia. In my opinion, those family members didn't stop and think that the only other articles out there still refer to it as a “sex trafficking” case and I was the last stop on the train to reality and truth. Mainstream newspapers rarely, if ever, go back and admit to offering incorrect information or remove that info.

I never did take a minute at the end of that Orlando conspiracy case trial and sentencing to congratulate each and every defendant involved. These people were from Eastern Europe, yet when faced with charges that could have given each one of them 5 to 50 years in a US prison, they all took it to trial. There were six defendants convicted by the jury and five acquitted. They all have more nerve than most people I have ever encountered in the US. It takes nerve and guts to take such a case to trial. This is my final post about this case:


In the last couple of days, and especially today, many readers are arriving on this blog with the search term “Southwest Companions”. Hell, I was busy congratulating David Flory when I first saw that all charges had nolle prossed back in late August of 2011. This may have been premature, but not really when you think about it. I ripped the Albuquerque P.D. a new one in one post a long time ago. In the last post written on the case, I considered it all to be one great mystery.

There was news on the Southwest Companions prosecution yesterday and a blog reader provided a link in comments on the last article. Now other newspapers and blogs have picked-up on it and discussed it. A judge named Stan Whitaker ruled in favor of the defendants in the case: Dated prostitution law puts case on hold. Yeah, on hold forever the way I read the ruling. There's a prosecutor trying to save face and win the next election along with a bunch of overzealous cops involved, so I won't say much more.

The most recent case that I have tackled is the Classy DC Escorts case. In a sense I was truly disappointed when I found out that even the photoshop lady, Jennifer Churchill, chose to make a guilty plea. When I felt that personal disappointment, I was not aware of the specific deal that she made. She pleaded guilty to the equivalent of a traffic infraction and received a $500 fine. Not even a flippin' misdemeanor! Anyone with a brain would plead with a deal like that on the table.

This goes to show how weak the case was as it related to Jennifer Churchill. However, most of us are aware that a jury could go either direction and Alexandria, Virginia has a conservative and often government related population. If everyone on the jury had contracted or worked for the government in some capacity, well, it could have easily resulted in a guilty verdict on any count. So a deal involving a plea to the equivalent of a traffic ticket, is truly a deal.

Often we forget to mention the attorneys involved in these case. There are many heroes and many more duds. While I won't name the duds because I cannot be sure of what occurred during the course of the case, I will indeed be naming the heroes. In the Classy DC Escorts case there is a law firm that represented Jennifer Churchill pro bono.

The attorney that defended Churchill in the case is a trial attorney and not a plea bargain attorney as so many that I have encountered in Central Florida are. If not for the excellent deal offer, Churchill would have definitely gone to trial. Kerri Ruttenberg of Jones Day believed in her client and fought until the fight was over and her client prevailed. Jones Day has attorneys all over the world and is not limited to the Alexandria, Virginia area.

I have so much more to say about attorneys that are heroes, including Kerri Ruttenberg, that the topic deserves a post of its own. Expect to see such a posting in the next week.

In my last post on this blog, I stated that I intended to get away from posting about adult business prosecutions and target other forms of injustice in the future. First and foremost on my mind is the DOJ prosecution of former attorney Paul Bergrin. I will tell you that I have been targeted over my posts on the Paul Bergrin debacle, so if I didn't really believe in the man, I'd have skipped it long ago.

Just this last week I was threatened (in so many words) with a prosecution in comments on the last nj.com article about Bergrin. According to the commenter, my blogs and my books are all illegal and a “promoting prostitution” prosecution is in my future. I, of course, told the party to give it his/her best shot, but that this blog and my others have been up for several years and no one has succeeded yet. I believe that party to be a part of the prosecution and/or investigation. This was far from the first threat leveled at me in reference to that case and it is all too apparent that someone involved would like to end my blogging forever.

There is some time before the next Bergrin trial starts and that is my sole reason for not posting anything else about the case at this time. I do not scare easily and really I no longer give a rat's ass who threatens me with what. I'm just beyond being concerned. They need to tell it to someone that cares.

Do expect me to continue posting about adult business prosecutions in the future. I will be clearing-up discussions on past and present cases and looking closely at several that I have paid little attention to, including the New York High Class prosecution that is approaching trial in NY, the All Perfect Tens case that is approaching trial in South Florida, and the Anna Gristina case in NY. 

Mentioning Gristina – Justice Juan Merchan needs to be thrown off the bench. Hopefully Anna Gristina will be released before today is over and we can thank the Appeals Court for that.

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

One of the smartest things Flory did in the SWC case was hire an attorney from a firm that is locally famous for its civil liberties defenses. They were even involved in some Gitmo cases, as I recall. Maybe thats the key. From what I'm reading it was Flory's attorney that developed the strategy. One attorney was on TV tonight saying the DA can indicst a ham sandwich, but these guys grabbed the han out and left the da with two slices of bread.
Also on TV tonight were ABQ vice officers vowing that the demonstration of their clownish inattention to detail will not feter them from future fiascos of the same sort.

Unknown said...

Remember the case was based on the fact the website owners received no money from the site and NM law required a physical house of prostitution.

Does anyone have access to the actual ruling?

This may not work in other states.

The Phoenix Goddess Temple has 39 going to trial in August I report on but they had a place but are fighting the felony charges.

We also had the Desert Diva's case with almost 100 that pled to felonies to avoid trial.

Dave in Phoenix
sexwork.com and Phoenix Private List since 1998

vic said...

do you really feel bergrin who enabled blacks to deal cocaine is all rigt? There are mosre positive things to encourgae blacks regarding, as teynshoot each other drug dealing, and to me thqt is whynpaul begrin is bad

Likwise my undestanding is thatnprostiutes are not all the, they can barely admit to themselves whatmtheyndo. this makes them eaily exploitwble, and without a constructi e slf identit to work from. Ifma prostitute can bemhonest with family and friends about their prostituting that is bette, if theyncant deal with what they do then , just what are they capable ofmdealing with. They are compelled through shame and not dealing, and caught up in insecurit that compells them to make what they cant deal with ok.
And arent you being really naive about sex. So many lie about it. Its usdmto rrproduce beings, still and abscent, get it, you take e eryhong asmit is on paper, and it is moremactual and notmasmit is on paper, and more sophisticate, in other words, paying for sex, doent lead to sex, but can be and is. Lied about. There are many lies in the world, qnd one is that sx is thatmeasy

Vicky Gallas said...

@Dave in Phoenix

Actually, the fact that website owners received no money from the site was a side issue that would be used if there is ever an indictment. This is all about a website not being a "brothel" and not existing in cyberspace under NM law (or law anywhere else as far as I am aware).

A brothel will always have a physical location where stated sex for money acts take place. An escort service will never be a brothel either.

The Phoenix Goddess Temple case is all about an incall operation that is alleged to be a brothel. Link:

http://abcnews.go.com/US/phoenix-goddess-temple-raided-alleged-brothel/story?id=14481945

The Desert Divas case had to do with a prostitution ring disguised as an escort service that had numerous websites and participated in TER postings and ratings. Another TER debacle and one of many. When will people ever learn?

Vicky Gallas said...

For a summary of Desert Divas:

http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/local/articles/2010/07/01/20100701desert-divas-prostitution-ring-mastermind-sentenced.html

Excerpt:

"According to Bill and court records, Desert Divas began as a legitimate escort service and devolved into prostitution. Clients would view videos of the women and then book their liaisons. Its websites were linked to a site that provided "reviews" of the prostitutes' skills, and the company would even hold parties in which clients could meet the prostitutes."

So it was the TER postings and ratings AND the parties.

At any rate, not sure why we are discussing it because neither of these cases are anything at all like the Southwest Companions case. This was a forum. Big damn difference.

Vicky Gallas said...

@vic

Some of your words run together, but I will try my best to interpret what you state.

On Paul Bergrin: Bergrin is a great defense attorney. What in the hell do you think defense attorneys do? They defend clients facing prosecution. Every person charged with a crime in this country is entitled to a zealous defense if they want one.

Blaming the attorney that defends clients for the acts of clients is absurd!

If anyone "enabled" anyone to sell cocaine on US streets, I'd say it was the CIA.

On prostitutes: All prostitutes are not equal anymore than all women are equal. You seem to be discussing street hookers and this is not about street hookers. Not all prostitutes are exploited and actually, the very great majority are not. Most just want the damn money! If they didn't want the money, they'd take jobs at Burger King or McDonald's etc...

I do not believe that you have much knowledge about the topics you are discussing here.

Am I naive about sex? You could not possibly know the answer to that one way or the other. My private life is no one's fucking business.

Some of what you are stating seems to involve religion. I am not religious and do not want to hear about religion here on my blog. Exercise your First Amendment right to free speech and discuss it on your own blog.

Vicky Gallas said...

@vic

I have had friends that were prostitutes that did not consider the profession to be demeaning in any way. If any prostitute in the US considers it to be demeaning or feels exploited, she need only find something else to do that earns money.

Prostitution is legal in many Western countries, including Canada.

One lady that prosecutors forced to testify in my trial was clear about her profession to the jury. While the main prosecutor screamed "prostitute" with the intention of demeaning her, she told the jury all about her choice to be a prostitute, and that her and I never discussed it. When she was detained and arrested by agents in pursuit of me in 1995, she pled guilty to one solicitation count, was given a form of probation that allowed her to mail her monthly payment to Florida probation services, and left the country.

Dusty went to Germany, Switzerland, and Amsterdam to work as a prostitute. She sent money to the State of Florida monthly. The state certainly accepted money from prostitution from her.

Perhaps you pay too much attention to these news shows (Amber Lyon or Anderson Cooper and the attack on Backpage for example) that discuss one teenager exploited by a pimp and think all prostitution is like this?

My friend Dusty was 2 years older than I was at the time of my trial. She told anyone that asked about her profession and felt no shame in it.

Anonymous said...

The classy dc case was about a conniving despicable prostitute who became involved with one of the lieutenants and started cheating the owner. When caught, they turned the agency in to the Feds. Now with classy out of the way, they continue to work the dc area as all of the law enforcement agencies look the other way. No prosecution for those two and they were very much a part of the daily operations and future expansion plans of classy.

Vicky Gallas said...

Oh I know... I've had to bite my tongue to keep myself from naming them and posting her photo on this blog.

Didn't know that anyone was referred to as a "lieutenant" with this outfit though. The guy was a driver. The documents tell that story.

Anonymous said...

Inspector Javert, aka DA Brandenburg, returns to Jean Valjean, aka Flory and Garcia...http://www.kob.com/article/stories/S2882958.shtml?cat=0

Vicky Gallas said...

In my opinion, the DA with nothing better to do in crime-free New Mexico will lose!

It's a damn shame they're allowed to continue pursuing their bullshit agenda though.

Thank you for posting the link. Best to you!

Anonymous said...

The NM Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on the DA's appeal of Judge Whitaker's ruling at 9am MST on Wed, Feb 6.

Anonymous said...

and the NM Supreme Court upheld Judge Whitaker's ruling. The appeal was dismissed from the bench.

Vicky Gallas said...

Woohoo! Then it is over for the former defendants, right??

Thank you for the great news! I had a rough day and went to sleep way too early... and here I am wide awake and about to have an espresso. ;)

Vicky Gallas said...

I found an article in the WSJ:

"Prosecutors Dealt Blow in Online Prostitution Case"

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323951904578288151953920208.html

My thoughts and congratulations are with David Flory and F. Chris Garcia. What an abusive prosecution this was!