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An Ex-Hooker Says Moses Was Tripped

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So ABC swallowed hard Sunday and went ahead with its coronation of Edwin Moses as Wide World of Sports’ athlete of the year, despite news that his ivory pedestal may still be in the shop. Bully for ABC. We will sit through three episodes of “The Fall Guy” in gratitude.

But it is not so easy to lug these Sportsman of the Year plaques into court and plop them down on the bench and say: “Exhibits A and B, your honor. Do you require anything else?”

No, the Edwin Moses’ Public Morality Trial presses on. Hollywood Vice (is that redundant?) has seen to that. The boys from Gung-Holier-Than-Thou went ahead serving prostitution solicitation papers on the greatest hurdler--and one of the more highly ranked gentlemen--in track history this week. The charge is reckless conversing with an undercover detective who was decidedly undercovered at the time.

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Moses’ attorneys say there must be some kind of mistake. They say their client was merely driving along Genesee Avenue toward Sunset Boulevard at 3:15 in the morning, when a woman waved to get his attention. Moses stopped at the stop sign.

“What are you lookin’ for?” she said.

“A little fun,” Moses said.

“How much money do you have?” she said.

“A hundred,” Moses said. He laughed and then drove off into the Sunset Strip. Moses was arrested 1 1/2 blocks later and that, as the boys downtown like to say, was that.

This is the way Moses’ attorneys tell the story. This is not the way Hollywood Vice tells the story. Hollywood Vice is not telling any story. It is only tightening the Hollywood vice on Moses’ temples and issuing quotes such as, “It will all come out in the trial.”

For most of us, it is hard to debate intelligently about this, since most of us are in our Dr. Denton’s at 3:15 in the morning and rarely are we in them and walking around Sunset Boulevard at the same time.

It is a problem that begs some expertise, some perspective. That is where Laura comes in.

Never mind how we found her, just know that she was waiting in a shadowy booth in the back, warming her hands on a clandestine cup of coffee, when we walked in.

Lest this sound like something out of Dragnet, let us assure you of Laura’s verity. Just as Edwin Moses is no amateur, neither is Laura, who, as a professional, went by the name of Candy. In her prime, about three years past, Candy was making up to $1,000 a night in the desire-for-hire trade. She has trotted sidewalks from San Diego to Seattle to the Sunset Strip.

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Laura says she’s out of that line of work these days. Yeah, pimps had threatened to kill her before, but this last one seemed sincere, so she gave it up for Lent. She wears her Sunset Strip years heavily. At 23, she looks 43. But who better to initiate us into the world of 3:15 a.m. encounters of the sleaziest kind?

“What sounds like crap to me is that she waved at him from across the street,” Laura began. “A hooker has to think one of two things about every guy she meets: The guy is either a mass murderer or a cop.” Either way, “you wouldn’t go waving at somebody,” she said.

“And another thing, a hooker wouldn’t speak first. You go up to some cop and blurt out, ‘What you lookin’ for?’ and your feet are in cement. And never--never!--would a hooker bring up money. You bring up money and you just bought yourself three years, honey.”

So say we got a dense decoy. What of Moses’ replies? What does the answer, “$100,” mean in prostitute parlance? Sale or no sale?

“No way. Guy tells you he’s got $100, it doesn’t mean jack. Maybe he was just answering her question. She said, ‘How much you got?’ He said, ‘$100.’ Maybe he figured she was in some kind of trouble and needed a taxi home. At that point, they haven’t even decided what he wants for his hundred yet, and they haven’t even figured out a place to go! All he’s done is answer her question. That doesn’t sound like intent to me . . .

“Look, half the guys you see in a night aren’t serious, anyway. They’re either high-school boys lookin’ for a thrill or guys who want to see what you look like up close or somebody hacked off at his wife who just wants to see how far he can go until he wishes he were back with her again. If what he (Moses) said is true, there wasn’t any intent to do anything. The whole thing is asinine.”

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Out of the mouths of ex-prostitutes sometimes comes wisdom. Indeed, if Moses’ story is true, this whole thing is asinine and a certain undercover cop deserves to get her Frederick’s of Hollywood charge card yanked.

And even if his story is not true; even if Moses is guilty of letting down his halo for half a minute among the Great Detached and saying something dumb, is it worth gutting a man’s life over? One as resplendent in achievement and integrity as Moses’?

Last month alone, Hollywood Division had 509 motor vehicle break-ins, 388 cars stolen, 361 burglaries, 186 robberies, 88 felony assaults, 78 grand thefts, 58 purse snatchings and 9 rapes.

But breathe easy. The streets are safe from Edwin Moses.

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