Prosecution rests in sex-for-series-tix trial

Susan Finkelstein arrives at the Bucks County Courthouse in Doylestown with her attorney William J. Brennan on March 24, 2010. Behind them is her husband, Jack LaVoy. Finkelstein faces a jury trial on prostitution charges for allegedly offering sex for World Series tickets.
Susan Finkelstein arrives at the Bucks County Courthouse in Doylestown with her attorney William J. Brennan on March 24, 2010. Behind them is her husband, Jack LaVoy. Finkelstein faces a jury trial on prostitution charges for allegedly offering sex for World Series tickets. (Peter Mucha)
Posted: March 24, 2010

The prosecution rested its case this afternoon in Bucks County Court against Susan Finkelstein, the Phillies superfan accused of trying to trade sex for World Series tickets last fall.

A seven-woman, five-man jury is expected to begin deliberations sometime tomorrow.

Finkelstein, 44, of Philadelphia, was arrested Oct. 26 in a sting set up by the Bensalem Police Department. A sergeant monitoring the Craigslist web site for possible prostitution activity spotted Finkelstein's cyber-plea for Phillies-Yankees Series tickets.

"Diehard Phillies fan - gorgeous tall buxom blonde - in desperate need of two World Series tickets," the ad said. "Price negotiable - I'm the creative type! Maybe we can help each other!"

A meeting was arranged at a Bensalem restaurant, police testified this afternoon, where Finkelstein allegedly offered sex to an undercover officer in return for a ticket in the 100 level off the third base line. She offered sex with two men - simultaneously, the officer testified - if she could have a second ticket for her husband.

Defense attorney William J. Brennan said he has not yet decided whether to call Finkelstein to the witness stand tomorrow. She is charged with prostitution and attempted prostitution, both third-degree misdemeanors.

In his opening statement, Assistant District Attorney Steven Jones called the case against Finkelstein clearcut, and urged jurors to use their common sense.

"The facts are simple, straightforward and uncomplicated," Jones told the jury. The question they have to answer, he said, is whether Finkelstein was "holding herself out for sex, expecting to receive compensation for it."

Brennan spent much of his opening statement ridiculing what he sees as Bensalem's nuke-the-mosquito approach to the case, noting that four undercover officers were present at the restaurant to arrest her. He also made light of testimony that Finkelstein announced herself as a prostitute, that she sought an extra ticket for her husband, and that trying to score a Phillies ticket to the World Series could meet the legal requirement of being in a sex-for-hire business, given the franchise's relatively hapless history.

"If a prostitute deals only in Phillies World Series tickets, her shelf life is about as long as Halley's Comet," Brennan said. "If she is in the business, is she just open in the Octobers when we have a World Series? That business is not open very often."

Among the prospective jurors questioned this morning was a man who strolled into court wearing a Phillies 2008 playoffs hoodie, a woman who hailed from a country where prostitution is legal and said she saw no need for charges, and a woman who said her husband had been arrested for soliciting a prostitute 15 years ago. All were excused.

Finkelstein, a former public relations specialist at Philadelphia's Wistar Institute, arrived for court conservatively dressed in a black pantsuit - a sartorial shift from her Wing Bowl appearance last month in a leopard suit.

She declined to comment as she left the courthouse.

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