Howard prostitution case delayed again

Ex-UMBC teacher granted a jury trial, now set for Oct. 24

August 10, 2006|By MELISSA HARRIS | MELISSA HARRIS,SUN REPORTER

In a court appearance that lasted less than five minutes, the trial of a former University of Maryland Baltimore County assistant professor accused of working as a prostitute out of her suburban Ellicott City home was delayed for the second time when she asked for a jury trial.

Brandy M. Britton, 42, of Shirley Meadows Court, who was to have faced trial in Howard County District Court, now is set for trial in county Circuit Court on Oct. 24 on four prostitution charges, each of which carries a maximum penalty of one year in prison and a $500 fine.

Dressed conservatively in a black pants suit and carrying a leather briefcase, Britton, her attorney and his law partner aligned themselves behind a gaggle of microphones on their way out of Howard County District Court yesterday - a different tactic from her last courthouse visit, when she rushed away from the media.

Christopher Flohr, Britton's attorney, declined to comment other than to restate the granted jury trial request and the new trial date.

As the attorneys stepped away, reporters redirected questions to Britton, and one asked whether she believes she is innocent. Britton, leaning over the microphones, said that she was "fortunate enough to have terrific attorneys" and that only they would provide comments to the press.

Wayne Kirwan, a spokesman for the Howard County state's attorney's office, said that prosecutors were prepared to go to trial yesterday and were notified of the request for a jury trial one hour before Britton's appearance, which was scheduled for 1:15 p.m.

Kirwan could not explain what benefit a jury trial could offer Britton other than "preparation" time for her lawyers. Flohr declined to explain his reasons for moving the case up to Howard County Circuit Court. The charges are misdemeanors.

A trial also could result in further embarrassment for Britton, who police say operated as "Alexis" on a now-defunct Web site, courting clients whom they say she charged $300 and up for sex at her $500,000 home. That Web site said that "Alexis" received money for modeling and companionship - not for prostitution.

Britton, who was an assistant professor of sociology and anthropology at UMBC from 1994 to 1999, has had numerous financial and career difficulties, including bankruptcy and allegations that she falsified research data while at UMBC, according to court records in unrelated cases.

melissa.harris@baltsun.com

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