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Partial conviction for ex-police officer accused of drug charges

A former Pittsburgh police officer who faced 17 criminal charges at trial earlier in May was convicted of several charges but was found not guilty of nine of the charges. He was acquitted of promoting prostitution, theft and several other charges, likely reducing the sentence he will face.

Many of the charges the jury found the defendant guilty of were related to accusations of drug crime. Others were more indirect charges such as obstruction, making false statements to police and conspiracy.

The defendant served on the Pittsburgh police force for 16 years before resigning in August 2011. The charges resulted from a police stop of a rental car in April 2011. The officers who searched the car allegedly found drug and sexual paraphernalia.

Inside the car was a man and a woman. The woman reportedly told police that she was the girlfriend of the defendant. She accused the defendant of having her perform "sexual fetish shows" in exchange for money. Prosecutors claimed that the defendant used rental cars to deliver his girlfriend to these shows and gave her and another person money to buy drugs.

In the end, the defendant was convicted of some drug charges and was not guilty of others. He was found not guilty of promoting prostitution, criminal use of a communications facility and some of the making false statements to police charges.

Without knowing many details of this case, it is possible that the jury declined to convict the defendant of promoting prostitution due to the nature of his girlfriend's shows. If the performance did not include sexual contact, it may not have qualified as prostitution.

The defendant will be free on bond until his sentencing hearing in August.

Source: Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, "Former Pittsburgh cop found guilty of dealing drugs, cleared of promoting prostitution," Tony LaRussa, May 14, 2013

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