The Los Angeles city attorney's office today formally charged two-time Olympic gold medalist Edwin Moses with soliciting an act of prostitution.
Moses, 29, of Laguna Hills was arrested early last Sunday near Sunset Boulevard and Genesee Avenue in Hollywood after, police said, he solicited sex from a female undercover vice officer.
Although police found marijuana in Moses' 1983 Mercedes-Benz, the city attorney's office did not file drug possession charges against the athlete because the quantity involved was very small, said Michael R. Wilkinson, spokesman for City Atty. Gary Netzer.
If convicted of the misdemeanor solicitation offense, Moses faces a maximum penalty of six months in Los Angeles County Jail and a $1,000 fine. He is to be arraigned Jan. 29 in Los Angeles Municipal Court.
Earlier this week, an attorney for Moses said that he believed the star hurdler had no intention of having sex with a prostitute and that Moses had been entrapped by police.
Authorities said 33 other men also were charged with soliciting prostitutes during the nightlong crackdown by Los Angeles police. Thirty of the 34, included Moses, were charged today, Wilkinson said. The city attorney's office rejected one case and asked police to further investigate three others.
Typically, Wilkinson said, undercover vice officers posing as prostitutes are equipped with a concealed radio transmitter that relays their conversations with suspects to a nearby "listening post." There, Wilkinson explained, other police officers write down what is said. Those transcriptions are later evaluated to determine if there is a legal basis for pressing charges, Wilkinson said.
A spokesman for Moses said earlier this week that the Olympian, who was in Los Angeles for a meeting of U.S. Olympic Committee, was returning to a hotel near Los Angeles International Airport from a Hollywood nightclub when he was arrested.
Gordon Baskin said Moses' Mercedes was idling at a stop sign when a woman, who later turned out to be a police officer, approached the car. After a brief conversation, Moses drove off, only to be arrested less than two blocks away, Baskin said. Baskin said Moses engaged in the conversation in jest.
However, Cmdr. William Booth of the Los Angeles Police Department said that the department has specific policies that prohibit undercover officers from acting suggestively, waving at potential suspects or initiating conversations.