`Video vigilante' makes brief appearance in Oklahoma County court

Wednesday, March 9th 2005, 5:32 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- A preliminary hearing could be set next month for an anti-prostitution activist charged with three counts of pandering.

Brian Bates, who calls himself the "Video Vigilante," appeared briefly at an arraignment Tuesday in front of Oklahoma County Special District Judge Russell Hall.

Hall read the charges against Bates and told him to return April 28, at which time a preliminary hearing date could be scheduled.

Bates bail was increased from $4,000 to $6,000, Hall said.

His attorney, Scott Adams, said he expects a May date for a preliminary hearing, and that his client will eventually go to trial. Adams said Bates won't accept a plea bargain.

Police arrested Bates Feb. 8 for allegedly paying a prostitute so that she would have sex with her customers in pre-determined locations.

According to court records, Bates told the prostitute he would pay her more for graphic sexual footage, and that he was going to use the footage for television appearances he planned to make.

Bates had nothing to say as he left the courtroom Tuesday, but has said on his Web site that he's been falsely charged.

Adams said his client is the victim of a conspiracy between police and prosecutors.

"Its an absolute miscarriage of justice," Adams said. "Brians never done anything wrong. Hes furious."

The charges, filed Feb. 23, are warranted, Oklahoma County district attorneys spokeswoman Debbie Forshee said.

"We are pleased to let a jury decide whether he is guilty or innocent," Forshee said. "We would never have filed charges if we hadnt felt there was reason to do so."

In July 2002, Bates provided footage to prosecutors of police striking an unarmed black man whom two white officers were trying to arrest.

Bates had alerted police that the man and a prostitute were having sex in a van in a church parking lot.