Lawyer: Records clear mayor of prostitution rumors

June 9, 2011 - 11:12 PM

DENVER (AP) — The attorney for Denver mayor-elect Michael Hancock sought on Thursday to quell rumors that surfaced during the final days of the campaign that Hancock had solicited prostitutes.

Attorney Bruce James told The Associated Press that the lack of surveillance video or photos of Hancock supports the mayor-elect's consistent denial of the rumor. Hancock won election on Tuesday, defeating former state Sen. Chris Romer, a fellow Democrat, in a runoff.

Word of the existence of a client's list from the suspected prostitution business has floated around Denver since 2008, when former U.S. District Court Judge Edward Nottingham resigned amid allegations that he patronized prostitutes.

Hancock's campaign has strongly denied the rumors about the mayor-elect, calling them a "false, desperate and negative attack."

James wrote the Denver police department on June 3 to request any photos or surveillance video of Hancock or his car taken in 2007 during a joint federal and Denver police investigation into Denver Sugar/Denver Players, which federal authorities have described as a prostitution business. He said he filed the request to demonstrate the rumors had no merit.

The Manager of Safety's office, which oversees the Denver Police Department, said in a letter released by James that there were no "videotapes, photographs or any other evidence" showing Hancock or his car at the business. Denver's KMGH-TV reported Thursday on Hancock's records request.

Denver police spokesman Sonny Jackson declined to comment, saying there's an open federal investigation. U.S. Attorney spokesman Jeff Dorschner said that if such records did exist, "they would be considered evidence and therefore not subject to public disclosure".

None of the alleged clients of the business have been prosecuted by Denver or federal authorities, though former owner Scottie Ewing pleaded guilty to one count of federal tax evasion surrounding the sale of the business to Brenda Stewart and was sentenced to home detention and probation.

Stewart has agreed to plead guilty to one count of tax evasion and will appear in court July 6 to enter her plea, according to court records. Neither Ewing nor Stewart returned messages left by The Associated Press.

Hancock, 41, takes office July 18. He succeeds interim Mayor Guillermo "Bill" Vidal, who took over when John Hickenlooper became governor in January.