Prostitution case lost in translation
GLENWOOD SPRINGS It took a jury just 30 minutes to find Glenwood Springs massage therapist Hui Jun Mu not guilty of prostitution Wednesday.”Justice triumphs over prosecution, prejudice and publicity,” defense attorney Thomas Silverman said via telephone.Silverman had maintained there was never any real communication between an undercover officer and Jun Mu.”I pointed out all the inconsistencies in any kind of theory that Ms. Mu had done anything wrong,” Silverman said. “It was really clear through the labored efforts in the court room that communication was difficult.”He said Jun Mu never touched the officer in an inappropriate way. She had no idea what the officer was talking about and didn’t see the up-and-down hand motion the officer had intended to illustrate a sexual act, he added.In the two-day trial, 9th Judicial Deputy District Attorney Kate Brewer called an undercover officer and a nearby massage business owner to testify. The officer testified about the night in question and the business owner spoke of phone calls and other suspicions that led her to contact police.Defense attorney Thomas Silverman called Jun Mu herself, as well as the owner of the A1 Chinese Health Care Massage business and one of his investigators. The trial, originally expected to finish in a day, stretched into two full days in large part due to translation issues. Questions had to be translated into Mandarin Chinese and answers into English.Silverman previously tried unsuccessfully to get evidence thrown out, calling the arrest “illegal” and saying it was done without a warrant.”We are disappointed that we feel justice was not done in this case,” Brewer said. “But we do respect the jury’s verdict.”The Oct. 5 arrest arose from an undercover Glenwood Springs Police Department and Two Rivers Drug Enforcement Team operation. A nearby massage business owner had complained of suspicious phone calls asking about “special massages” or “special manly” massages after the A1 Chinese Health Care Massage opened in the summer of 2006.An undercover officer had testified that Jun Mu touched his private parts during a massage and asked, “You like?” He said she eventually held up six fingers and said it would cost “60 dollar,” and that she took the money from his pants nearby after he asked what he would get while making the up-and-down hand motion.A second charge of unlawful sexual contact had been dismissed prior to the not guilty verdict on the prostitution charge. There is still one pending Glenwood Springs prostitution case that began with an arrest the same night in a similar undercover operation at the Asian Day Spa. Two more cases, arising from similar arrests made later at the VIP Spa in Parachute, are pending. Brewer said she could not comment on any of the other pending prostitution cases.Silverman said Jun Mu and the owner of the A1 Chinese Health Care Massage business were pleased with the verdict.”They were so relieved to be vindicated,” he said.