Friday, August 17, 2012

Witnesses testify at prostitution hearing of ex-Pittsburgh cop - WPXI Pittsburgh

A former Pittsburgh police officer is in court Friday after Allegheny County police refiled prostitution charges.

Police on Tuesday charged Michael Johns, 45, of Brookline, with 11 criminal counts, including insurance fraud, promoting prostitution, false reports to law enforcement, drug possession and other crimes.

Police first charged Johns with nine criminal counts in August. Prosecutors withdrew six charges at a preliminary hearing in October. The remaining three were dismissed by the prosecution on Monday.

Police also added a drug charge. Detectives found heroin residue in Johns' home during a search on Aug. 29, 2011, according to the criminal complaint. They also found the identification card of a man Johns arrested in 2008. At the time of the arrest, Johns said the man did not have any identification on him.

Friday’s preliminary hearing will determine whether Johns will stand trial. Channel 11’s Lori Houy learned that several witnesses are expected to testify.

Johns was arrested last August after investigators said he paid for rental cars for the women, helped them obtain drugs and allowed them to use his home computer to post online ads.

Johns resigned from the department last year. He and his attorney have not commented on the charges.

Johns is the third former city officer to face prostitution charges in recent years. Former narcotics officers Talib Ghafoor and Faquar Holland were sentenced to probation in April after pleading no contest.

Mike Manko, spokesman for Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr., declined comment.

Channel 11's news exchange partners at TribLIVE contributed to this report.

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