The jury selection process was dicey. Who among you is open to the idea that the police aren’t telling the truth and the Defendant is? A few hands went up. Most just stared at the Defendant wondering why she was going to trial. Who among you will judge the officers’ testimony just like any other witness? Well, now, this case just might be more interesting than the civil fraud case down the hall. Everybody seemed willing to keep an open mind if the choice is the prostitution trial or listening to a series of bad checks being reviewed.
So twelve citizens who couldn’t think of a good enough reason not to be there were sworn in as the jury. 9 women and 3 men were on the panel.
The detective testified he came into the spa, paid his money, and got an excellent massage until the time when the Defendant started lightly touching his privates. At that point he negotiated a “happy ending” for $30.00. The detective who was in the parking lot listening in on a concealed audio device, come on now, it was hidden in his pants hanging on a chair, heard the bust signal and came rushing in.
The Defendant testified that she had only wanted to give a legitimate massage and never, ever, agreed to any “happy ending” other than a great massage. In fact, she had said “no, no, only massage” when the officer pantomimed an act of oral sex.
The jury was told the tape recording of the encounter was mysteriously erased. No oral, pun intended, record of the encounter existed for the jury to hear.
The DA tried her best in closing argument to say “Believe the officers. No way would they risk their careers to lie against this Defendant.”
The Defense attorney told the jury the Defendant was an innocent victim of over zealous cops who couldn’t be believed. And, by the way, how about that lost audio tape? The defense lawyer rallied the jury to find the Defendant innocent because that was the right thing to do.
The judge gave final jury instructions on the law. Out the jury filed. 45 minutes later the verdict was in.
People v Nguyen
Case Number: 14WM01973 Trial counsel for the Defendant: Rudy Loewenstein