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Michael Hancock prostitution-ring story: The hilariously inconclusive phone records review

The story linking mayor-elect Michael Hancock to the Denver Players prostitution ring has turned into an absurdist comedy. Note that from 3:35 p.m. yesterday to 12:57 a.m. this morning, a team of ten editors, reporters and researchers from the Denver Post and 9News examined Hancock's phone records in search of links to Denver Players, but found none. And what's it prove? Zip.

Today's front-page Post article and the 9News package that preceded it last night detail the exhausting effort, conducting in the legal offices of Brownstein, Hyatt, Farber, Schreck, Hancock's legal team, per a laboriously negotiated mutual agreement that followed Post accusations of reneging on a previous deal. Unfortunately, though, neither include images of the analysis process, which we can only imagine resembled the hunt for hanging chads following the 2000 election.

Both items confirm that the journalists found no evidence Hancock contacted Denver Players from the cell-phone number listed on records from the facility. But they also acknowledge claims from sources -- presumably onetime Denver Players owner Scottie Ewing among them -- that Hancock made appointments for escort service from payphones, not his cell. And while analysis of the records shows he was allegedly using his cell while some of these trysts supposedly took place, this wasn't universally true.

The bottom line: The cell-phone records don't exonerate Hancock of extracurricular boinking beyond a shadow of a doubt -- and since this story is about what goes on in the shadows, the distinction is important.

Of course, the vast majority of us don't care if Hancock shelled out for happy endings -- only if he lied about it, Anthony Weiner-style. And the latest investigation doesn't eliminate this possibility, especially in the mind of those observers prone to believing the worst about politicians.

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No telling what will happen next, but here's something on which virtually all parties can agree: Hancock's mayoral term is getting off to a terrible start, albeit one that's produced a few laughs. Here's the 9News report.

More from our Follow That Story archive: "Scottie Ewing details computer theft, media interest in Michael Hancock-Denver Players link."

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