ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - The lawyer for former University of New Mexico president F. Chris Garcia says it's time for prosecutors to clear his client in a sensational prostitution case that made headlines nearly a year ago.
Charges of promoting prosecution were dropped following the Albuquerque police arrest of Garcia and Fairleigh Dickinson University professor David Flory last June and the men still haven't been indicted.
Garcia's lawyer, Robert Gorence, suggests politics is playing a role in the delay and that District Attorney Kari Brandenburg is waiting until after her primary election to drop the case.
He said she should own up to making a mistake and make a statement clearing Garcia.
Prosecutors, however, say the case is document intensive, because it involves an entire website and will soon be ready for review by a grand jury.
"This matter is far too serious to argue its merits in the media," Brandenburg told the Albuquerque Journal on Friday. "The case will move forward, and all those accused will have their day in court."
The original complaint accused Garcia, 71, of helping run a prostitution website called Southwest Companions. He has denied the charges. Another professor, David Flory of Farleigh Dickinson University, is accused of running the site.
Garcia is a professor emeritus of political science and was interim UNM president from 2002 to 2003. Flory, a physics professor at the private New Jersey school, is accused of creating the multistate operation. Both posted bond, and charges were dismissed while the investigation continued.
Gorence said Brandenburg and Albuquerque police Chief Ray Schultz had brought "explosively damaging" charges but had not taken the case to a grand jury "because (they) know they can't prove a thing. .The decent and just thing would be for (Brandenburg) to own up to the mistake she made when she bought in to APD's flawed investigation and exaggerated charges and to issue a statement exonerating Dr. Garcia."
Chief Deputy District Attorney Mark Drebing said the case is almost ready and could be presented to a grand jury within a month or so.
"We've been working with the FBI forensic lab," he said. "We have volumes of paperwork that relate to the website itself. It's a pretty extensive case in terms of the volume and amount of work that's being put in."
Drebing said the defense has indicated that they would address issues pre-indictment if they were permitted to, including making arguments that it shouldn't be charged at all.
Gorence said Garcia has had his reputation ruined and was dismissed from his job but has been unable to clear his name in court.
He said prosecutors and police know that Garcia "never received a penny from any such activities nor did he control or direct the activities of women who advertised as escorts."
Statements to the media about the alleged conspiracy were "ludicrously false," he said. "If anything, Dr. Garcia, like 1,400 other people, made the mistake of accessing a website operated by another person for illicit purposes."
Albuquerque police said at a press conference after the arrests that the two professors ran a website where respected men like themselves could go for sex without having to worry about getting caught up in street stings.
Information from: Albuquerque Journal
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