Sex

Feds Bust Doctor for . . . Meeting Women on the Internet

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Last June, I put up a post about a Mississippi cardiologist named Roger Weiner. Weiner moved to the Mississippi Delta town of Clarksdale from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1999. I had contacted Weiner because he was involved in a protracted court battle with controversial Mississippi medical examiner Steven Hayne. You can read about that battle at the link above.

Weiner is an outspoken guy. He not only gave me an on the record interview about Hayne and what he, Weiner, perceived to be Mississippi's corrupt medical investigation system, he has also spoken out against the HMOs he says he came to the state to get away from. He was so disturbed by his experience with Hayne that he successfully ran for Coahoma County Supervisor. He also told me that though he'd never previously touched a gun in his life, after he was elected he felt compelled to keep a shotgun in his home, dryly explaining that, "Not everyone down here is happy about an East Coast Jew getting elected to county office."

In May of this year, Weiner was arrested by five FBI agents at the improbably named Shady Nook gas station. The charge? Violating the federal Mann Act—a century-old law banning the transport of women across state lines for "immoral purposes." Specifically, federal agents had posed as prostitutes on a chat room for a Memphis-based website called sugardaddyforme.com, a site aimed at pairing older wealthy men with young women.

The FBI claims Weiner agreed to pay agents posing as escorts to make the 80-mile trip from Memphis to Clarksdale to have sex with him. My sources in Mississippi told me at the time that unofficial word from the U.S. Attorney's office was that more serious charges against Weiner were imminent. The implication was that he'd be indicted for child pornography, or soliciting sex a minor. But as weeks went by, those charges never came. All the women, or fake women, Weiner is accused of soliciting were of age (one agent posted as a 31-year-old).

Now the solicitation charges themselves are looking pretty weak, too. U.S. District Judge Neal Biggers recently threatened to toss the entire case against Weiner unless U.S. attorneys turned over the cell phone records they had been keeping from Weiner's defense. As it turns out, there was a pretty good reason why the feds were keeping those records to themselves. It came out yesterday at Weiner's hearing. The Mississippi blog NMissCommentor was there:

What happened here was that the F.B.I. had a "tip" that Dr. Weiner was somehow involved in child pornography on the site sugardaddy.com.  So they checked it out and discovered, nope, no child pornography there.  Case closed?  Nope, the F.B.I. then decided to run in some fake "sugarbabies"– agents masquerading as escorts– to try to lure Weiner into agreeing to meet them.  Some of the time, one of the agents playing "escort" was a guy!

Just to be clear:  Dr. Weiner never met one of these "women."  Dr. Weiner never paid one of these "women" a dime.  Dr. Weiner even told the first would be escort,  Ginger (well, the agent or agents masquerading as Ginger), that there was "a difference between a sugar baby and a hooker, and I'm not interested in a hooker." 

According to a motion Weiner's lawyer filed in federal court, federal prosecutors left this information out of the affidavit they filed to get a search warrant for Weiner's home. The motion says "the Government knew when it applied for the search warrant that the defendant had already informed the Government agent that he was not interested in a hooker, wanted noting to do with a hooker, and the Government agent assured him that she was not a hooker." If you're going to arrest a man for soliciting prostitutes, it seems like it would be pretty important to include in your affidavit the fact that he specifically told an undercover agent he wasn't interested in a prostitute. Of course, you'd then have no pretext to search his home for the really juicy stuff.

Back to the NMissCommentor:

 This led the F.B.I. to run in a second fake sugar baby, Mary.  And, because masquerading Mary was in Mississippi during all the conversations with Dr. Weiner, there was no chance of her crossing a state line, the very essence of a Mann Act violation!  (The U.S. Attorney argues that, well, he meant for her to cross a state line, because she said she was in Memphis)…

…it gets even weirder.  Mary emailed the doctor that she was in Memphis on business, and would like to come down to see him.  He said nope, I'm on call and too busy.  She then asked how's about tomorrow lunch.  He said don't bother to come all the way just for me.  She then ventured– oh, I've got to drive back home from Memphis to Mobile, and can just pass through Clarksdale en route.  He said well all right, she got off the phone, and some brighter prosecution-side type thought–

wait a minute, if she's "going to drive home" and that's why she's "crossing state lines," where's the Mann Act violation!?

So she calls back to suggest, er, um, I'm not really going to Mobile at all, just coming to see you.  Shortly thereafter, five F.B.I. agents arrested Dr. Weiner at the Shady Nook north of Clarksdale.

Let me stress here that I have no evidence that the feds' pursuit of Dr. Weiner is in any way related to his outspoken criticism of Steven Hayne and Mississippi's death investigation system. But it sure seems like someone had a reason to . . . well, I'll just defer to Judge Biggers, here:

Judge Biggers asked some pointed questions:  Why are they prosecuting him?   Judge Biggers also said, "Something is going on here that is not on the surface that they would bring in 3 government agents in contact with him over and over again.  When he didn't express interest, they bring in another one.  Something is going on that is not evident.  Perhaps [U.S. Attorney] Mr. Roberts can explain it."

Other comments from the bench:  "You've come a long way from the purpose of this statute in the bringing of this charge."  "It took five F.B.I. agents…to arrest him?" (This drew a response from the prosecutor hemming and hawing about not being able to assume things just because the arrest involves a doctor and not second guessing the agents about safety).  And:  "This case seems like overload."

It sure does. Let's assume for a second that the feds' pursuit of Weiner has nothing to do with his criticism of Hayne, the Coahoma County coroner, the medical establishment in Mississippi, or that it has any political motivation whatsoever. Let's just look at it as a question of priorities. Because that's troubling enough. Hayne and Michael West have been corrupting Mississippi's justice system for 20 years, with little attention from the federal government. Yet the FBI and U.S. Attorney's office have time to devote three agents and a team of prosecutors to invoke a century-old law against sex slavery to entrap a man who was using an Internet dating site to meet women.

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59 responses to “Feds Bust Doctor for . . . Meeting Women on the Internet

  1. FUCK.

    (This, by the way, will be my standard initial reaction to Balko’s usual sort of post from now on.)

  2. It’s nice to know all other crime has been eradicated and the government is swimming in money.

  3. I’ll be very interested to know how much this persecution by the feds increases Weiner’s margin of victory in his re-election.

    I’m hoping, based on my time in small towns, that the local residents will close ranks behind one of their own.

  4. Heck yeah dude, hit and run baby, hit and run!

    RT
    http://www.anonymous-web.be.tc

  5. Looks like he should have bought a shotgun and an upper level FBI/DOJ friend instead of just the shotgun.

    Xeones | September 4, 2009, 11:21am | #
    FUCK.

    (This, by the way, will be my standard initial reaction to Balko’s usual sort of post from now on.)

    That’s what goes through my head by the third paragraph of all his posts.

  6. Wait, Eliot Spitzer didn’t get charged but this jamoke does?

    One could almost think that these laws are kept on the books and used only selectively against people who offend the powers that be.

    Nahhhhhhhh..

  7. Biggers-Weiner 2012!

  8. I would acquit if he blew holes in those 5 FBI agents.

    Hell, I would still acquit if he decided right now to remove a few of the FBI scum from this planet.

    These dickless bitches got nothing better to do?

  9. It’s amazing how far they will go to put an innocent person in jail.

  10. I am truly astounded by the extraordinary measures the Feds are going to to put their hands on Wiener. The fact that is took several attempts to set Wiener up and multiple agents to grab Wiener are truly shocking. I only hope that they treat Wiener gently and fairly in custody, and that Wiener is still able to practice once this is all over.

  11. FrBunny wins the thread.

    No, he wins the week.

  12. Asked at The Agitator, but it bears repeating:

    Pardon me if this comes off as sexist or misogynistic, but has the Mann Act ever been used to protect women? From what I can see, it’s historically been used to punish “uppity” people (Jack Johnson, Chuck Berry, etc).

  13. Radley,

    FrBunny is all woman. Va-va-voom.

  14. FrBunny wins the thread.

    I would like to donate my winnings to help replace your lost Google ad revenue from The Agitator.

  15. That is straight-up entrapment.

    -jcr

  16. The feds ruined the purity and trusting innocence in sugardadddyforme.com.

    How will I learn to love again?

  17. Kind of puts the phrase, “I’m from the government and I’m here to help,” into perspective, doesn’t it?

  18. sugardaddyforme.com

    Got to remember that one for after I become independently wealthy.

    And FUCK these dickwads who pulled this bullshit.

  19. “””That is straight-up entrapment. “””

    Is there such a thing anymore?

  20. HOLY CRAP FrBunny!!!

    I am at work and conspicuously laughing that loud and hard may tip them off to me not working. I think my spleen exited my nose. Now I must clean my keyboard.

  21. “””Violating the federal Mann Act-a century-old law banning the transport of women across state lines for “immoral purposes.” “””

    What’s immoral? Sex with a consenting adult that lives in another state? or buying things for the girl you are having sex with?

    Are the feds accepting the notion that buying dinner for, and then sleeping with, a woman equates prostituion? Comedians have joked about that for years but leave it up to the jackboots to take it serious.

  22. I could really go for some Biggers-Weiner myself.

  23. Whenever some re-re like joe mentions how paranoid libertarians are, I’ll point him to this article.

  24. The feds ruined the purity and trusting innocence in sugardadddyforme.com.

    I’ll waget they violated the SugarDaddyForMe.com Terms of Use Agreement. Weren’t the feds calling that a felony not too long ago?

    I wou;ld really, really like to know the whole story behind this.

    I predict with supreme confidence that nobody will lose their misbegotten job over this clusterfuck.

  25. This is scary stuff.

  26. Explain to me the difference between what the FBI did and the actions of Lori Drew.

  27. “I am truly astounded by the extraordinary measures the Feds are going to to put their hands on Wiener. The fact that is took several attempts to set Wiener up and multiple agents to grab Wiener are truly shocking. I only hope that they treat Wiener gently and fairly in custody, and that Wiener is still able to practice once this is all over.”

    *giggles*

  28. Ya know. The term Federal should be considered a synonym with “spineless incompetent mother-fucker. You have state pigs blowing holes through people in Arkansas for having the audacity of questioning said state pigs Authoritah. And what are the Federal pigs doing? Trying to frame an Innocent guy for, of all things, trying to get some pussy.

    Really, why shouldn’t these lying spineless cocksuckers not be wiped off the planet other than it is illegal to do so? It is hard not to Godwin this stuff.

  29. So you’re telling me I commit a felony every time I pick up my girl friend and drive her back to my place for sex because she lives across the state line?

  30. Whenever some re-re like joe mentions how paranoid libertarians are, I’ll point him to this article.

    Damn straight, if you don’t think someone’s out to get you these days, you’re fucking crazy.

  31. So you’re telling me I commit a felony every time I pick up my girl friend and drive her back to my place for sex because she lives across the state line?

    Yes, and don’t lie and say that doesn’t turn you on a little bit.

  32. So you’re telling me I commit a felony every time I pick up my girl friend and drive her back to my place for sex because she lives across the state line?

    Only if you buy her dinner or give her any gifts, Dan. You can tell her that from now on, its strictly Dutch. Its the Law!

  33. Thanks to J sub D for the link to the sugar daddy TOS. In relevant part, the TOS forbids

    ‘Content that:

    ‘. . . promotes information that you know is *false,* *misleading* or promotes illegal activities or conduct that is abusive, threatening, obscene, defamatory or libelous’ [emphasis added]

    ‘Explain to me the difference between what the FBI did and the actions of Lori Drew.’

    Recall how, on the Lori Drew threads, at least one commenter expressed confidence that the feds would use their prosecutorial discretion so as only to go after violators who truly deserved it. These agents are hard-working public servants, so obviously they don’t deserve prosecution merely because they engaged in activities which federal prosecutors believe to warrant imprisonment when engaged in by a mere civilian.

  34. ‘You can tell her that from now on, its strictly Dutch. Its the Law!’

    You Dutchophobe!

  35. See, this sort of civil liberties outrage would never have happened if we had just elected Barack Obama. He would have reined in the FBI and had them looking for real criminals not lonely guys.

  36. SugarFree –

    Beat ya to it by two minutes.

    In your face, sucker!

  37. Um, reading up on it, The Mann Act really makes sunset clauses look attractive.

  38. It being Friday I felt the need to remind folks of the dangers involved in transporting gulls across sedate lions for immoral porpoises.

    ****

    Most people don’t even know the origin of what that punchline was making fun of, which is, of course, the Mann Act.

  39. Only if you buy her dinner or give her any gifts, Dan. You can tell her that from now on, its strictly Dutch. Its the Law!

    If I’m not gonna get laid, she’s buying ME dinner then.

  40. Well, that’s it. The feds killed internet dating.

    But on a serious note, I’m glad that Judge Biggers seems to have good sense.

  41. The word “Weiner” is used in this piece 27 times.

  42. One could almost think that these laws are kept on the books and used only selectively against people who offend the powers that be.

    Dude, that’s true of at least 90% of the federal penal code. And probably that of most states, too. As is

    From what I can see, it’s historically been used to punish “uppity” people (Jack Johnson, Chuck Berry, etc).

  43. Yes! The Powers that Be unfiltered Cracked! That story was hilarious!

  44. Yeah, the Mann Act seems to have been used for political purposes…a lot.

  45. Maybe people need to investigate the “experts” the FBI uses for trial. Apparently the FBI feels intimidated. Nice of them to let everyone know their emperor has no clothes either.

  46. Maybe people need to investigate the “experts” the FBI uses for trial.

    Do they use Stephen Hayne?

  47. The Powers that Be unfiltered Cracked!

    Wow, same here! Do you sit beside me?!

  48. Wow, same here! Do you sit beside me?!

    What, do you work for the feds? Or do the proprietors of websites actually lobby to get their sites unblocked? Must investigate further.

  49. Must investigate further.

    Can’t; too busy reading Cracked archives before the wormhole closes!

  50. My God, Facebook isn’t blocked either…

    I’m getting scared now.

  51. The Powers that Be unfiltered Cracked!

    Wow, same here! Do you sit beside me?!

    Mine blocks it, because it falls into the category “Tasteless.” Awesome.

  52. “The word “Weiner” is used in this piece 27 times.”

    What kind of sicko counts weiners?

    BTW, of course weiner didn’t want a hooker. Jews are cheap.

  53. Mine blocks it, because it falls into the category “Tasteless.” Awesome.

    And yet HnR makes it through unscathed.

  54. I’m getting scared now.

    Yup. Admiral Ackbar could show up at any moment with a classic warning.

    It used to be blocked as “tasteless” on my ‘puter, too. Maybe the administrative people realized that the best humor was often ‘tasteless’ (for instance, re-animated, cannibalistic fried chicken magnates)?

  55. And yet HnR makes it through unscathed.

    We’re tastefully irreverent.

    Okay, maybe not all of us. But mostly.

  56. I thought we were tastelessly irrelevant.

  57. To-may-to, to-mah-to.

  58. Is this why the terrorists were able to get in?

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