Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Rich Johns' Identities are Shielded in Escort Probe

Detroit News

Escort probe skips 248 area code

Feds will only reveal customers with 313, 734 phone numbers

By Robert Snell

Detroit — Federal prosecutors are refusing to reveal customers from Oakland County and the 248 area code who hired hookers from a high-priced escort service but are willing to out clients from Detroit, according to federal court records.

The legal tactic was unveiled in records filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Detroit involving the Miami Companions escort service.

The U.S. Attorney's Office and FBI busted the international escort service in July, indicted the owners and three employees on prostitution or money-laundering charges and seized a black book bulging with tens of thousands of customer names, job details and contact information.

Paul DeCailly, the attorney for Miami Companions co-owner Greg Carr, flew to Detroit last week to review the black book. He wanted to see the names of clients from Michigan and Ohio, but the U.S. Attorney's Office said he could see only the names from the 313 and 734 area codes, he said.

"There must be something there they don't want anybody to see," DeCailly said Tuesday. "In the 248 area code, a lot of influential people live there: musicians, Detroit's sports elite, politicians. ... It's the center of a lot of activity in the business community."

DeCailly filed a motion Tuesday to compel the government to turn over the entire black book and other records. He had a limited amount of time to review the names of clients from the 313 and 734 area codes and was not allowed to copy the information.

Prosecutors cited privacy concerns in initially refusing to allow DeCailly to copy the list and referenced a federal rule that says defense lawyers are not entitled to the government's witness list. A U.S. Attorney's Office spokeswoman earlier declined to say whether any clients will be called as witnesses during trial.

Prosecutors have said they will use the black book against Carr, a 44-year-old Dearborn Heights native, who they allege co-owned and ran the ring under the nickname "Paul Cutlass."
A U.S. Attorney's Office spokeswoman did not return a call seeking comment Tuesday.
DeCailly said he needs the black book to mount a defense.

"It's not to destroy lives or marriages or anything like that," he said. "I think (the U.S. Attorney's Office) could care less about exposing the list, but they want the push for it to come from me or one of the defendants."

There are other restrictions.

The defense can scan certain documents, but none that contain biographical information such as names, addresses, phone numbers, Social Security numbers, driver's license numbers or other identifying data, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Blackwell wrote in a Dec. 22 letter to DeCailly.
Investigators already have interviewed some Oakland County residents whose names are in the black book, DeCailly said. He has reviewed copies of some of the interviews.

"The government is knocking down doors and any person it needs to, to do what the pleasure police want to do: basically shut down a legitimate business and prosecute a man who's done nothing wrong," DeCailly said.

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