Forces beyond LL's comprehension have conspired to make today prostitution Tuesday in D.C. politics.
First off, Ward 7 council candidate Kevin B. Chavous has cut a deal with prosecutors on the charge that he allegedly tried to pay an undercover cop $20 for a blow job a few weeks ago, court records show.
The solicitation charge will go away after four months if Chavous performs 32 hours of community service, doesn't break any District laws, and stays away from the block on K Street NE where his alleged encounter occurred. The Post reports that Chavous' attorney said prosecutors approached Chavous with the deferred prosecution deal.
The deal comes after a very tight-lipped Team Chavous indicated they would fight the charge. "I am innocent of the charges against me and look forward to clearing my name!" Chavous tweeted after his arrest, in what LL is pretty sure has been his only comment about the whole affair. His campaign also put out a statement by Chavous' father, former Ward 7 Councilmember Kevin P. Chavous, after the arrest, in which Chavous the elder said: "I am convinced that he did nothing wrong or illegal and that he will be exonerated."
Chavous' spokesman has so far not returned a call seeking comment today.
It just so happens that a few hours after Chavous was in court this morning accepting the deal, his opponent, Ward 7 Councilmember Yvette Alexander, was at a hearing on her bill to strengthen the District's anti-prostitution laws. Alexander has long complained about an "epidemic" of prostitution in her ward, particularly along the Eastern Avenue corridor. Her bill would allow police to designate permanent "prostitution-free zones" where cops could order people they suspected of being involved in prostitution to disburse or face charges. The law right now only allows for 20-day prostitution-free zones. (LL would caution lawmakers to be careful to avoid any typos while drafting that bill, lest they accidentally set up free prostitution zones.)
The hearing provided some unintended moments of comedy, at least in LL's mind, when Alexander wondered why more prostitution arrests don't end in convictions and whether more focus was needed on punishing johns. "If we can address the demand, then maybe the supply will go away," says Alexander. Awkward!
LL's actually quite curious to see how big a deal Chavous' legal entanglements becomes in the Ward 7 race. Will Alexander make it an issue in the campaign (LL's awaiting a call back)? Will Chavous continue to keep silent about the arrest or will he give his side of events? Do any of Ward 7's voters even care?
Photo via Kevin B. Chavous' Facebook page