Former Miami Beach cop Lavont Flanders was one of two men convicted last week of drugging seven women and raping them on camera to make porno flicks. But his lawyer says that, despite his client's public fall from grace, Flanders is no criminal.
"These girls knew exactly what they were getting into," claims Flanders' attorney, Christian Scott Dunham.
Dunham says he plans to file for a new trial later today on constitutional grounds. If that fails, Flanders could face life in prison.
Last Thursday, Flanders and associate Emerson Callum were convicted of 18 and 14 charges, respectively, in a lurid case of sex, lies, and video tape.
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"They would look for girls who wanted to be models. They would contact them fraudulently, pretending they were women in some cases, and get these women interested in doing auditions," Jeffrey Herman, an attorney for one of the victims, told WSVN in October. "Then, what they would do, and it was very similar for all these women, is they would bring them into Miami for an audition. They would give them alcohol as part of their audition, laced with a concoction including Xanax."
Flanders did not take the stand in the case. But his lawyer insists that the porn was consensual.
"Their whole story that they were aspiring models is false," says Dunham. "They knew that eventually they were going to do pornography, but they had buyer's remorse."
"There was a mountain of evidence in terms of all the fraud he did to get them [to the hotels,]" Dunham admits. "But that doesn't mean that these women didn't knowingly sign contracts to do pornography."
Dunham says that there were other problems with the trial apart from the guilty verdict. He believes that federal judge K. Michael Moore's decision to empty the courtroom for closing arguments violated Flanders's constitutional right to a public trial.
His motion for a mistrial was denied at the time. Now Dunham is filing a motion for a new trial.
"We don't have a great shot in front of this judge," he says. "But it will be an interesting, particularly when it comes time to appeal."
Dunham says his ex-cop client is in good spirits despite the high likelihood of receiving a life sentence on February 16.
"He seems OK right now," Dunham says. "He's definitely excited about the motion for a new trial and the appeal. He's still in the mindset that he didn't do anything wrong.">