By Chao Xiong for Star Tribune on November 8, 2013—
“Antonio D. Washington-Davis, who was charged with running a sex-trafficking ring out of St. Paul with his uncles and brother, was found guilty on all counts Friday night by a Ramsey County jury.
Washington-Davis, 27, was charged in Ramsey County District Court with aiding and abetting the solicitation of a minor to practice prostitution, three counts of aiding and abetting the promotion of prostitution, aiding and abetting the solicitation of an individual to practice prostitution and conspiracy to commit sex trafficking. The case had gone to the jury Friday afternoon.
Jurors will reconvene on Tuesday to decide aggravating factors in the case. Sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 19.
Assistant Ramsey County Attorneys Karen Kugler and David Pinto said Washington-Davis targeted vulnerable young girls and women, groomed them by lavishing them with attention and gifts and then forced them into prostitution.
Washington-Davis worked with his two uncles, brother and his then-girlfriend to sell sex with the girls on backpage.com. He also forced victims to walk the streets, Kugler said.
Washington-Davis’ attorney, Nicole Kubista, has argued that her client was born into a family of criminals, and that they are the true culprits.
Police believe that the family trafficked victims for years, but Washington-Davis was on trial for crimes that occurred between 2010 and 2012. One victim testified that Washington-Davis drove her to Ely, Minn., to prostitute herself and that he choked her.
“This defendant and his co-conspirators enslaved several women and girls for their own financial gain, and inflicted unimaginable harm on their victims, as well as our community over a considerable period of time,” said Ramsey County Attorney John Choi. “This is what sex trafficking looks like in our community. It is not the Hollywood movie ‘Pretty Woman.’ ”
Washington-Davis’ two uncles have pleaded guilty and have been sentenced. His brother, Otis D. Washington, is scheduled to go to trial next week. His ex-girlfriend, Elizabeth Alexander, also charged, is scheduled for trial.”
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