Plea Agreement Crumbles, New Charges Considered in Prostitution Case
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) _ A self-proclaimed nymphomaniac and her husband face trial on prostitution charges after prosecutors withdrew a plea agreement amid reports defense attorneys tried to sell a bedroom videotape of the woman.
Prosecutor Joel Lazarus accused attorney Ellis Rubin of conflict of interest and negotiating the plea agreement on behalf of Kathy and Jeffrey Willets in bad faith.
The Willetses had planned to enter guilty pleas Wednesday, but the state dropped its offer after a reporter said that defense attorneys tried to sell a secret bedroom videotape of the woman with a client.
Lazarus said it now appears the Willetses participated in crimes not included in the deal. He said making the videotape would be illegal under state law.
During a hearing Wednesday before Broward Circuit Judge John A. Frusciante, Lazarus presented defense attorneys with a new plea agreement to look over. No details were released.
The couple charged clients from $50 to $150 an hour and made as much as $25,000 over six months, investigators said. They face trial on the original charges Oct. 2.
Rubin had planned to argue that Mrs. Willets, 33, suffered from nymphomania and her 41-year-old husband, a Broward County sheriff’s deputy, has spells of impotence. Her husband is said to have watched and taken notes from a bedroom closet.
Television reporter Steve Wilson of ″Inside Edition″ said Tuesday that one of Rubin’s sons, attorney Guy Rubin, offered to sell the program for $60,000 a videotape of Mrs. Willets having sex with former Fort Lauderdale Vice Mayor Doug Danziger, who was known for anti-vice campaigns.
Danziger resigned as vice mayor July 30. His lawyer, David Bogenshutz, said Wednesday he could not confirm whether his client was involved with the Willetses, but said: ″He’s going to hate this. He thought it was over.″
Rubin has denied making any deal with the nationally syndicated tabloid television show.
″It now has been revealed that ‘Inside Edition’s’ reporter came to my office to entrap us into some illegal or unethical act,″ Rubin told the judge. ″They never intended to buy anything. All they wanted to do was trap us.″
Av Westin, co-executive producer of ″Inside Edition,″ said the show has broken no law or journalistic standards. ″We reject any assertion that ‘Inside Edition’ engaged in any wrongdoing,″ he said.
Meanwhile, the 4th District Court of Appeals issued a temporary stay on release of a list of alleged prostitution clients. The appeals court set hearings for Friday and Monday on that list.
At least 11 men calling themselves John Doe have tried to block the court from releasing the Willetses’ client list. But Frusciante ruled last week that the media have a right to see the list.
Under the plea agreement, Jeffrey Willets would have received a maximum of one year in jail and his wife would have been placed on probation, officials said.
Willets was charged with living off the earnings of a prostitute and his wife was charged with several counts of prostitution. Both are also charged with illegal wiretapping for recording phone conversations with clients.