Trials & Litigation
Pro se decision by accused pimp results in colorful testimony
Posted Dec 18, 2013 1:00 PM CDT
By Mark Hansen
Accused pimp John Hammond may soon wish he had gotten himself a real lawyer.
Hammond, defending himself on sex-trafficking charges last week in upstate New York, told the jury in his opening statement that he shared "nose candy" with alleged prostitutes, the Albany Times Union reports.
"Yes–I do share nose candy with these girls. For free. For my own personal use. OK?" he said.
Hammond, 38, also told the jury he provided the accused prostitutes rides, a place to stay and "protection that's needed," though he insisted he never asked any of the "girls" to engage in prostitution.
He also volunteered that he had been investigated on similar charges by federal authorities and law enforcement officials in two states, but said that all three of those investigations had been dropped.
Albany County Court Judge Stephen Herrick told Hammond his remarks were irrelevant, but the defendant pressed on.
"The evidence will show that these charges I'm being charged with are federal charges, me crossing state lines committing an act of a crime...the evidence will prove to you that the federal agents investigated this same case," he said.
Hammond eventually stopped defending himself, saying he believed he was being "railroaded," and a court-appointed defense lawyer took over. But he did take the witness stand to testify in his own defense, during which he admitted to being a heroin addict.
"I've got proof of that," he testified.
No verdict has yet been announced, but Hammond is facing up to 25 years in prison if convicted.