According to a letter filed in Brooklyn Federal Court on Wednesday, the former CEO of now-shuttered male escort site Rentboy is putting the final touches on a plea agreement following his indictment for promoting prostitution.
Reuters reports that Jeffrey Hurant, 51, pleaded not guilty to charges that he ran what prosecutors breathlessly dubbed an “internet brothel,”alleging that the site “made millions of dollars from the promotion of illegal prostitution.”
Back in August of last year, Hurant and six of his employees were arrested during a sting operation in Manhattan conducted by Homeland Security with help from the NYPD.
The case has sparked outrage from gay rights advocates due to the oddly targeted nature of the crackdown. The legal complaint is bizarrely prurient, with prosecutors listing various fetishes from profile pages, including “sneakers, spanking, watersports, leather,” for no apparent reason other than shock value.
Six Rentboy employees were initially arrested during the sting operation, but the charges were later dropped.
Hurant’s lawyers asked for a plea hearing to be scheduled on August 29. If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in prison — which would be, to put it objectively, a complete and utter disgrace.