Michael Hancock: Prostitution-ring case taken over by feds as Denver cops get some distance

At this point, Denver Police Department reps aren't saying why they handed over the Denver Players prostitution investigation to the feds. But no need to exhume Nostradamus to figure it out.

After all, there are approximately a gazillion reasons why the DPD would want to put an inquiry that touches on mayor-elect Michael Hancock at arm's length...

What with the department under heavy scrutiny due to a slew of police brutality cases, including those pertaining to Michael DeHerrera and Alexander Landau, Chief Gerald Whitman's job is hanging by a thread -- and aggressively pursuing Hancock would be the equivalent of handing him a pair of scissors.

And then there's the fact that the principal figures in the case, former owners Scottie Ewing and Brenda Stewart, are already deep into the judicial pipeline. Ewing is currently serving six months home detention on a single count of tax evasion -- the same crime to which Stewart has pleaded guilty. When she's sentenced in November, expect her punishment to be in a similar range.

That means the only wrists left to slap are attached to potential johns like Hancock. And as DPD spokesman Matt Murray implies in the 7News item linked above, it doesn't make sense to expend lotsa police resources on what amount to petty offenses.

If Hancock used Denver Players -- which he energetically denies -- the possible damage is much greater politically than criminally, if only because proof that he lied would cast him in the Anthony Weiner role.

Meanwhile, the Denver Post continues to publish behind-the-scenes pieces to explain why it was so late to the party on the Hancock story. Today, it's columnist Mike Littwin's turn -- not that he headed up the effort. As he explains, his involvement mainly consisted of driving colleague Chuck Plunkett to a meeting with Ewing in an office featuring the sign "You MUST have clothing on when exiting this room." Classy.

Littwin pretty much acknowledges that the Post's main info against Hancock involved Ewing's records, which didn't feature any dates, among other issues -- and that the paper went forward with its reporting due to the mayor-elect reneging on a promise to provide "unfettered" records to prove his innocence, and not due to corroborating testimony from smoking prostitutes like the ones KHOW's Peter Boyles -- who Littwin dubs a "know-nothing morning radio personality" -- keeps referencing on the air.

Given these and many other factors, the DPD's decision to let the feds take charge of the inquiry makes perfect sense, albeit due to factors the department is unlikely to admit.

More from our Follow That Story archive: "Scottie Ewing-Michael Hancock link, election day break-in & the swing king's tangled past."

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts