May 30, 1996 in Nation/World

Court Overturns Fleiss’ Pandering Conviction

Compiled From Wire Services
 

“Hollywood madam” Heidi Fleiss’ pandering conviction was overturned Wednesday by a state appellate court that ruled jurors had engaged in vote-swapping misconduct to avoid a deadlock.

The 2nd District Court of Appeal ordered that a new trial be held, said Emma Amos, a spokeswoman for the court.

“The jurors involved in this misconduct committed a transgression worse than those with which Fleiss was charged,” Justice Reuben A. Ortega wrote for the three-judge panel. “… Those jurors turned this serious proceeding into a farce.”

Fleiss, 30, faced a three-year prison term on the pandering charge.

The ruling does not affect Fleiss’ federal conviction on money laundering charges. She remains free pending sentencing in that case, which is set for September.

Fleiss was convicted on the pandering charges in a police sting operation. She was videotaped supplying prostitutes to undercover agents posing as Japanese businessmen and boasting that she ran the most exclusive call-girl ring in town.

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