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Trial and Tribulations

As a cop, she fantasized about testifying against a killer. As a hooker, she got her chance.

"The FBI gave me your name," he said, and asked Joanne to meet with him.
She took a taxi to a hotel, where she met with the attorney and another man: Truman Leuthauser, a sergeant with the Denver Police Department who had a side business working with companies to look into reports of theft, drug abuse and other problems. The men asked her a few questions, but she didn't know much about Moore's activities. "I just thought he was a wealthy guy with a lot of money to blow," she said, telling them about the bad checks.

After they were through asking questions, Leuthauser offered Joanne a ride home. "Know what kind of car this is?" he asked, opening the door for her. She shook her head. "It's a Jaguar," he said, obviously expecting her to be impressed.

Joanne thought the cop was a bit on the "geeky" side. He was dressed in a cheap polyester suit and trying desperately to cover encroaching baldness. But he apparently had money, so when he asked for her telephone number, she gave it to him.

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And Leuthauser quickly demonstrated his generosity. Joanne had told him she'd lost a contact lens, and when he dropped her off at her mother's house, he placed a $100 bill on the coffee table. "Buy yourself another lens," he said.

It wasn't long before the two were romantically involved. Joanne had never been treated so well. They ate at the best restaurants. He bought her furs and jewelry. She taught him how to dress--whether good blue jeans or Cassini suits. They went to the dog track nearly every day, and when they won, which was often, he'd take her shopping.

"Pick out an outfit," he'd say. After she did, he'd tell her to pick out another. It was nothing for him to spend $300, $400 on her at a single stop. Not even Moore had been so generous, and if she saw a connection between the two men, she ignored it. She was in love.

Leuthauser was fifteen years older than Joanne, but that didn't matter. If anything, his maturity and the way he took charge of her life made her feel safe. Several months passed before Leuthauser admitted that he was married and had kids, but by then she didn't care. He rarely spent a night away from her. He was hers, and she'd fight for him.

While he made good money as a Denver cop, where he'd been on the force since 1967, Leuthauser made even more with his moonlighting. Joanne listened raptly to his tales of catching bad guys and was thrilled when he invited her to be one of the "operatives" he placed at companies to spy on the employees.

It was like being in a Nancy Drew or Hardy Boys mystery. She'd always thought she'd make a good detective.

Then a friend of Leuthauser's told Joanne that the Denver Police Department was looking for new recruits. She asked Leuthauser what he thought of her applying--he liked her to run the big decisions in her life past him--and he encouraged her. But she failed the general-knowledge entrance examination.

Although Joanne was disappointed, it wasn't the end of the world. She still had her job with Leuthauser's moonlighting business. And she had a key role in that company's Associated Grocers case.

Leuthauser was directing a seven-month police investigation into theft and drug use at AG, reporting to DPD Captain Larry Britton. At the same time, Leuthauser was receiving "consulting fees" from the company.

Joanne Cordova was one of the undercover informants he'd planted at AG to take note of any questionable or criminal activities by other employees. She managed to make a series of heroin buys that resulted in the arrest of two Associated Grocers truckers.

All told, over fifty AG employees lost their jobs, although only a few were ever prosecuted for criminal activities. Many workers claimed the company had instigated the investigation in order to break their union, a claim AG denied.

After the success of the Associated Grocers operation, Leuthauser formed a new corporation called Corporate Consulting Services Inc. and invited Cordova to be his partner. He even listed her on the incorporation papers as company vice president and secretary. She threw her energies into the business, designing the company logo and letterhead, even helping Leuthauser come up with a slogan: "Minimizing Losses to Maximize Profits."

But work would be put on hold for one week. Associated Grocers had been so pleased with the results of the sting that the company bought Cordova, Leuthauser and several employees an all-expenses-paid trip to Manzanilla, Mexico, that would run from December 2 to December 9, 1982.

A week before she was scheduled to leave for Mexico, however, Joanne saw in a newspaper advertisement that the Denver Police Department was recruiting again. The entrance examination was scheduled for December 7.

Joanne wanted to be a cop, but she didn't want to miss the trip, either. So it was arranged that her sister, Jeannie, would take the test for her.

When she returned from Mexico, she learned that Joanne Cordova had passed the entrance exam and had been admitted to the police academy.

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