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

michael hancock on 9news.jpg
Hancock on 9News.
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.

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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24 comments
Kickdemout
Kickdemout

The Denver Post has zero credibility since their biased coverage of the 2010 elections along with their slanderous coverage of Ken Buck.  They are just an extension of the NYT, moderated because they have to.

Kay Sieverding
Kay Sieverding

The Department of Interior reports about the Minerals Management Service misconduct in DENVER specifically mentioned prostitutes. AND the Department of Interior dated the misconduct between 2002 and 2006, when the Denver Players brothel was in operation.  Therefore the public should be able to find out if there was involvement between the Denver Players brothel and the Minerals Management Service.

Laurel Canyon '66
Laurel Canyon '66

Imagine Debbie Sherman pouring over the records as the smiling law firm clowns sit next to her going "see, nothing there". He used a frickin' pay phone, there is nothing there. Get his ATM/banking withdrawls, he pulled out lots of loot to get what he couldn't elsewhere. Boyles said one well known radio host, an in front of camera TV guy, a TV brass guy are among the listed. Any guesses? I got 31 guesses.

Ray Denonville
Ray Denonville

If you want to run a criminal enterprise as a business, you can have no better law firm than Strickland, Hyatt and Farber.

Bill K.
Bill K.

If anyone has/had T-mobile, especially during the period analyzed, they are notorious for not being accurate with respect to the time of when a call was made.  So to imply that Mr. Hancock was on actually on the phone at times when he was supposedly visiting Denver Players, this is probably inaccurate.  I had numerous experiences with T-Mobile indicating the wrong "call time" when I was trying to figure out if my kids were up very late at night (as the bill stated) using the phone.  It was determined by T-Mobile that the actual call times were often inaccurate

Stealth2
Stealth2

And what's it prove? Zip.

What a coincidence! It proves just as much as a generic piece of paper from a pimp and convicted felon that anybody with Excel and a crappy printer could produce.

Seriously, is the media (yourselves included) taking their news leads from proven liars who simply wave a piece paper around that they typed a name on (and badly I might add)?

Here, let me do the work for you: unless someone produces a cancelled check with Hancock signature on it, an actual phone calll with his actual voice, a fingerprint, or SOMETHING that actually ties Hancock to this escort service, it's not a "story" or a "scandal". It's nothing.

Until somebody gets some actual facts or evidence, why don't we hold off on the breathless updates? It makes you look like Harvey Levin without the journalistic savvy.

DB
DB

So, Michael, what's the answer here? Don't investigate? Do investigate? Be cautious? Don't be cautious? You're all over the place. Take your meds, man.

Or take the usual Westword route and do nothing but comment on the hard work others are doing, Hey, to mix it up, why not write about the amount of time Westword has spent reporting on sex clubs in general and Scottie Ewing in particular and explain to us in detail why you and your crack staff (not a pun) failed to even turn up the questions, much less any answers. You crapped out on Nottingham, and you crapped out Hancock.

Westword is a journalism joke, and the punch line is "lazy and bitter."

Guest
Guest

I bet Chris Romer is just eating this shit up.

Debbie
Debbie

The bottom line is that the cell phone records do exonerate him.  Scottie Ewing specifically stated that they used the cell phone number to call back and verify appointments and to verify the appointment maker.  Since there's no evidence of these calls, then this matter is done.

Bill M.
Bill M.

You've lost the thread of this "story," Michael. The original claim by the right wing "news" blog Complete Colorado was that the alleged records it had from a" source" showed that Hancock used his own cellphone. While you're right about what the records the Post and 9News reviewed don't necessarily show, the original claim by Complete Colorado -- whose "editor" is an employee of the right wing Independence Institute -- appears to have been pretty well shown as false.

WalterC
WalterC

The real question in all of this is:  Once the media has lost credibility, can it ever be regained?  In its zeal to increase ratings, readership, and viewership through the publishing of lies and innuendo, the media was totally played by a stupid felon and a brilliant law firm.

Welcome to tabloid life, Denver Post and 9News.  You are sad, sad jokes.

Linda
Linda

And yet, here you are reading and commenting...

Brighteyes
Brighteyes

He is.  Because slanderous lies are right up his alley.

Linda
Linda

I don't think it exonerates him anymore than it implicates him. The whole sorry mess is kind of a wash, at this point.

The records that have been published here and at the DP show that he used payphones. Ewing said the cell phone number was run through an online research system to confirm who the client was, not necessarily as a number to set up appointments.

I do remember reading somewhere in this whole mess that Ewing was now claiming that the service would call the cell number to confirm the client's identity. But it seems that Ewing's story has gone through a few incarnations of its own since it originally broke on CC.

Honestly, I could care less at this point if Hancock paid for sex.They couldn't prove it in 2008 and it appears it can't be proven now.

Time to move on. Denver has bigger problems than Hancock's sex life to worry about.

Michael Roberts
Michael Roberts

Debbie, your point is well taken -- although both the Post and 9News include the claim that Hancock used payphones to make appointments in their stories. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

johninlongmont
johninlongmont

I think that's inaccurate...the customers were ID'd by their cellphone number...in fact the records indicate hancock called from "different numbers (pay phone)"...but the smoking gun in this whole mess is hancock's asking for records the police have of him, his car, or his license plate at the scene of one of the whorehoues!!!...why would a totally innocent mayor-elect want records the police have of him, his car, or his license plate at the scene of one of the whorehoues????...is this really that hard to figure out?

Jeffrey
Jeffrey

Could not agree more. 9News and the Post look like the fools that they are, especially the Post after that ridiculous whine and bitch fest in Saturday's paper.

DB
DB

I love a good laugh, especially at Pompous Mike's expense. 

RobTT
RobTT

1. It would be expected that Hancock would use phone cards to call prostitution and other unsavory locations. The Robert Blake- Barretta actor- murder case turned on use of phone cards to communicate without leaving call records. If Hancock made many phone card calls on the dates in question - those records can be found by the federal investigators. The newsmen should should look for those numbers as well. 2. If the prostitution providers called Hancock on his cell phone, then those calls could be found on their bill and on the inbound section of Hancock's bill. 3. I think we should hope that he is not guilty, but the use of phone cards would raise serious question. Phone cards are used to hide.

Stealth2
Stealth2

So by that logic, he can NEVER be exonerated because he can't completely prove he never made a call from ANY phone. And who's "claim" are the Post and 9News relying on? Right, the lying pimp.

C'mon, SOMEbody in this town has to recognize when a story doesn't have legs, right? Anybody? Bueller?...

Guest
Guest

Someone's bitter.  And too lazy to go to another website.

BootieTap
BootieTap

True, it is much harder to prove you did not do something then to prove you did it.  I guess unless there are recordings "Hi, I'm Michael Hancock, do you have any new bootie for me to tap tonight?" and is in his voice, good luck actually proving any of this.

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