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CHICAGO (CBS) — An embarrassing revelation in federal court has led to the removal of a defense attorney from a trial, and the declaration of a mistrial for a massage parlor owner.
As WBBM Newsradio’s Bernie Tafoya reports, massage parlor owner Alex “Daddy” Campbell was on trial last week for exploiting illegal immigrant women by bringing them to work in his parlors.
LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Bernie Tafoya reports
But the trial abruptly came to an end when a masseuse testifying for the prosecution recognized court-appointed defense attorney Douglas Rathe as one of her former customers, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
Rathe admitted that he had gone to the masseuse, Ukrainian immigrant Liudmyla Ksenych, at least four times, and had given her perfume and sent her e-mails, the newspaper reported. He said although it was a “stupid” thing to do for a married man, he only ever went for massages and never got the sexual “extras” that some women testified they had been instructed to perform, the Sun-Times reported.
U.S. District Judge Robert Gettleman called a mistrial.
Campbell, of Glenview, was charged in a federal indictment with preying on immigrant women, locking them in their apartments, taking away their passports, and forcing them to work in his massage parlors, among other allegations, according to the Sun-Times. A co-defendant, Danielle “Princess” John, pleaded guilty to related charges last year.
Campbell allegedly “branded” the women who worked for him with horseshoe tattoos. One woman told authorities he forced her to get three tattoos.
Campbell is accused of making extortionate demands of the women, including from one victim who told federal agents that she paid Campbell $10,000 after he promised he’d help her.
After that, he demanded sex from her and forced her to have sex with another woman while he videotaped it, according to charges unsealed in January.
Campbell then allegedly upped his demand of money and told her he’d broadcast the footage if she didn’t pay up, according to the charges.
Campbell also allegedly admitted to being a pimp when he was arrested by Chicago Police during a prostitution investigation, the Chicago Tribune reported last year.
He was charged with interference with commerce by threat of violence and aiding and abetting to sex trafficking of children by force, fraud or coercion and aiding and abetting, among other counts.
Ksenych worked at the Sea Breeze, at 5816 N. Lincoln Ave., according to the Sun-Times. Campbell also owned the Day and Nigh Spa in Mount Prospect.
Campbell will remain in custody as he awaits a new trial, which will be held in January, the Sun-Times reported.
The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.