Trials & Litigation

Massage Parlor Mistrial Declared After Masseuse Recognizes Defense Lawyer as Client

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A Chicago federal judge declared a mistrial last week in a sex-trafficking prosecution after a masseuse who worked for the defendant and testified for the prosecution recognized the defense lawyer as a client.

After stepping down from the stand, masseuse Liudmyla Ksenych told prosecutors she recognized defense lawyer Douglas Rathe, report the Chicago Sun-Times and the Chicago Tribune.

The revelation prompted U.S. District Court Judge Robert Gettleman to declare a mistrial in the case against a massage parlor owner accused of threatening immigrant women to extort money and force them to into sex trafficking.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Diane MacArthur said in a court hearing there is no indication that Rathe asked for any extras during his massages, the Sun-Times says. Rathe told the newspaper there was no sex.

But he did admit in the court hearing that he “got too friendly” with Ksenych, who had a bachelor’s degree in law from the Ukraine, the stories say. “I liked her a lot,” he testified. “She was a nice person. And I gave her a bottle of perfume. Stupid thing to do when you are married, but I did it. … I met her at least four times. … But I did send—we did exchange emails.”

MacArthur said Rathe didn’t recognize Ksenych’s name on the witness list because she did not use her real name on the job.

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