Victoria Aguayo was arrested, indicted, and nearly prosecuted for her "role" in the infamous "Desert Divas" prostitution ring, according to a lawsuit she's filed in Maricopa County Superior Court.
Problem is: Aguayo was not a "desert diva," and the evidence suggesting she was is laughable.
On one of the "Desert Divas'" many Web sites, the agency advertised an "escort" named "Tia." The site described Tia as "thin, white, and blonde," with a tattoo on her stomach that is clearly visible in the topless photo of the woman that Aguayo's lawyer kindly sent New Times.
Phoenix Police Detective Christie Hein identified Aguayo as Tia based on the photo on the site when she arrested her on August 28, 2008, the lawsuit claims.
We've seen pictures of both Tia and Aguayo, and we gotta say, if Aguayo can be identified as "thin, white, and blonde," so can Aretha Franklin.
Aguayo is, to put it politely, a plus-size woman, she's black, and is missing the tattoo that is so clearly visible in the photo of on the "Desert Diva" site.
Simple, um, mistake, right?
After her arrest, Aguayo spent nearly two months in jail before she was granted a supervised release pending an upcoming trial.
While she was in the clink, Aguayo lost custody of her daughter, Jasmine, and has since been unable to get her back.
According to the lawsuit, the prosecution of Aguayo went forward despite a lack of any firm evidence. Deputy Maricopa County Attorney Annielaurie Van Wie offered Aguayo several plea deals in an attempt to get some sort of conviction and save a little face, the suit says
Fortunately, Aguayo declined all of them.
On January 5, 2009, Van Wie made a motion to dismiss all charges against Aguayo, and the court dismissed the case without prejudice, but the damage had already been done.
"It's just sloppy police work," says Aguayo's attorney, Larry Debus.
That sloppy police work and seemingly malicious prosecution on the part of the County Attorney's Office -- locking up an innocent women for nearly two months aside -- may cost taxpayers some cash.
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Aguayo's suit asks for $600,000 in damages from each of the defendants listed: the State of Arizona, the City of Phoenix, the Maricopa County Attorney's Office, Detective Christie Hein, and Deputy County Attorney Van Wie.
For anyone who wasn't counting, that would total about $3 million in public coin because of another blunder by County Attorney Andrew Thomas' office (in the unlikely event that Aguayo gets all she's asking for).
We called the County Attorney's Office this morning hoping to speak with Van Wie. She did not return our call.