Michael Hancock prostitution story: CBS4, 7News reject conditions to look at phone records

Folks at the Denver Post seem ready to put the alleged link between mayor-elect Michael Hancock and the Denver Players prostitution ring in the rearview mirror after reviewing the candidates cell-phone records.

But while the Post accepted the Hancock team's conditions to examine this data, two major TV stations -- CBS4 and 7News -- rejected them. Why?

According to CBS4 news director Tim Wieland, Hancock spokeswoman Amber Miller sent the following must-list to the station on Tuesday afternoon:

• Reporters will be able to review Michael's complete, unedited and un-redacted cell phone records for March, April, May, September and October in 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007.

• Any reporting/writing will only involve numbers related to Denver Players/Denver Sugar and the allegations that Michael Hancock solicited prostitutes.

• Reporters will share with us the specific phone numbers and names they are looking for just prior to sitting down and reviewing the records.

• If there is a match, reporters will point out those numbers on the spot, with the understanding that no one leaves the room/contacts that number until the records review is complete.

• The records review will occur at the offices of Brownstein Hyatt Farber and Schreck.

• There will be no photocopying, reproduction or republication of the records.

Wieland said no-thanks, as did the folks at 7News, whose report on the decision notes that it was based on concern that "the conditions could compromise CALL7 Investigators' ability to objectively report the story."

As you'll recall, 7News and Fox31 were the first Denver TV stations to broadcast about the accusations against Hancock, first reported on the website Complete Colorado. The outlets used communication between the mayor-elect's legal team and the Denver Police Department as the equivalent of a second source to supplement information provided by former Denver Players owner Scottie Ewing.

In contrast, CBS4 has resisted the temptation to air material on the subject -- not that staffers have ignored it. As Wieland notes via e-mail, "We have investigated the allegations against Michael Hancock with persistence and patience."

Did the station feel pressure to jump in after most of its major competitors belatedly did so? "The only pressure we have felt is the pressure we've put on ourselves to be fair and to get it right," Wieland writes, "and I am proud that we have stood by our standards."

More from our Media archive: "Michael Hancock prostitution ring story: CBS4 exec on why station hasn't reported it yet."

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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