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Deemed confessed'

Ben Fenwick January 19th, 2006

As self-proclaimed "Video Vigilante" Thomas Brian Bates pulled up to the abandoned liquor store at S.W. 43rd Street and S. Robinson Avenue last week, the blond woman wearing the tight red minisk...


As self-proclaimed "Video Vigilante" Thomas Brian Bates pulled up to the abandoned liquor store at S.W. 43rd Street and S. Robinson Avenue last week, the blond woman wearing the tight red miniskirt and knee-high white go-go boots pointed to him.


Her name is Renee McCullough, and she had been a witness against Bates in a case filed by Oklahoma County District Attorney Wes Lane.


"Howdy," Bates told the police officer as he walked up.


"Hi. What's up?" the officer responded.


"Nothin'. Just got a call from a neighbor that she was out here hookin' so I'm just tapin' like I do. I tape all the hookers out here," Bates responded.


"Now don't be harassin' her," the officer cautioned.


"I'm not harassing her. She's not a witness. The case was dismissed," Bates responded. "I can stand here and tape her all I want. I just wondered if you had any questions of me."


"Well, they said you was harassing them. We're just tryin' to find out what's going on," the officer responded. His voice could be plainly heard on a video provided to Oklahoma Gazette.


"The hookers think I'm harassing them, but we just want 'em gone," Bates said.


McCullough began yelling at Bates. "He's harassing me because I got a case on him," she said.


"What you need to do is call the district attorney, OK?" the police officer told her. "Just call the district attorney and tell him."


"Get the damn camera off me, Brian!" McCullough shouted.


The officer turned to her, palms outward. "You'll need to go somewhere else," the officer told her. "Just go somewhere else."


As she walked to a car driven by another woman, McCullough directed her comments to Bates again.


"You're still hung, motherf-----. You just don't realize it. Kiss my ass," McCullough said.


If business was ever "as usual," Bates is back at it. Until last week, Bates faced five felony counts of pandering, known on the street as "pimping," and 100 years in prison. Bates, who operates a Web site and shoots video of street prostitutes in south Oklahoma City for a number of television programs, said the charges were a bogus retaliation by Lane for the Vigilante videotaping the beating of Donald Pete by Oklahoma City police in 2002. Lane denies this.


Involving claims by McCullough, a self-admitted prostitute, and her male companion Gerald Loud, Lane's case  was dismissed last week by Oklahoma County District Judge Ray Elliott after prosecutors failed to respond in writing to a motion to dismiss the case filed by Bates' attorney, Scott Adams.


A story about Adams' motion to dismiss was published in Oklahoma Gazette Dec. 7.


While the prosecutors initially asked to render their response verbally, Elliott said it had to be written, according to Adams. First, prosecutors were given 15 days, he said. No response was given. The judge granted additional time to them, Adams said.


"Which he allowed them to do over my objection," Adams said. "They were outside the 15 days, which makes the order void to begin with. They gave (their response) to me the day before the hearing."


With that, Adams said, the judge dismissed the charges. The judge said Adams' motion was "deemed confessed," which means that by not responding to it, Lane's office confesses that Adams' motion " that the case should be dismissed because the charges that Bates was pimping aren't true " is correct and that Lane's office has no real case.


"The motion I filed is 'deemed confessed,'" Adams said. "That means I win. That means everything in my motion is true and the case is dismissed."


Prosecutors later filed a motion for the judge to reconsider his decision to dismiss. Elliott will hear the motion Friday.


Lane refused to be interviewed. Although an assistant district attorney, Greg Mashburn, told The Oklahoman the case was thrown out on a technicality, Lane spokeswoman Debbie Forshee said no other interviews would be granted.


Instead, Lane issued a statement, claiming his office did not know of the needed response to the motion.


"With no notice to my staff, Mr. Bates' lawyer pulled a legal maneuver in an effort to undo a longtime-accepted Oklahoma County Courthouse practice on how we respond to defense motions," the statement read.


Adams said he could not "pull" anything because Elliott is a former prosecutor and his wife, Sandra Elliott, is currently a prosecutor in Lane's office and little would get past this particular judge.

"I would think his office would be aware of the local court rules and what the judges require," Adams said. "The truth is, they didn't want to put it down on paper because they would be embarrassed. The truth is their case is just a ball of shit and they can't swallow it."


Meanwhile, the star witness, McCullough, faces a charge filed in December in Oklahoma City Municipal Court. She is charged with criminal trespassing at an Oklahoma City truck stop.

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