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Wednesday, May 29, 2024 | Back issues
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No Hitman Evidence in Sex-Slave Trial

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (CN) - A federal prosecutor will not present evidence of a murder-for-hire plot against her during the trial of a man accused of sex trafficking.

The decision will allow Assistant U.S. Attorney Cynthia Cordes to continue as the prosecutor in the case against Bradley Cook.

U.S. District Judge Robert Larsen had ruled that Cordes would be disqualified as prosecutor if the murder-for-hire evidence was presented at trial.

Cook, 33, of Kirkwood, a St. Louis suburb, is accused of taking part in the sex trafficking of a woman who was held as a sex slave near Lebanon, Mo.

Cordes claimed in January that Cook tried to hire someone to kill her while he was being held in federal custody in Leavenworth, Kan.

Prosecutors used the alleged plot to show that Cook was dangerous and should be held in custody until trial.

Cook's attorney, with Carter Collins Law, claimed that the accusations were without merit, based on unreliable jailhouse informants and the exclusion of exculpatory evidence.

Cook is being held in a jail in Bates County, Mo. It is unclear whether Cordes' decision will affect Cook's status.

Cook was one of five men charged in September 2010 with conspiracy to commit sex trafficking by force, fraud or coercion. The charges involve a mentally deficient woman who says she moved into the trailer of Edward Bagley in 2002 as a teenager and became his sex slave.

Prosecutors say Bagley brutally tortured the girl and persuaded her to sign a sex slave contract. He allegedly tattooed a bar code on her neck, a tribal mark on her back and a Chinese symbol on her ankle, indicating that she was a slave.

The other four men, including Cook, are accused of offering cash, cigarettes, computer hard drives, meat and other items to Bagley so they could engage in sexual torture sessions with her.

Two of the men, Dennis Henry, of Wheatland, and James Noel, of Springfield, are accused of paying for Bagley to take the woman to California in 2006 to perform sex acts during a photo shoot. Henry and Noel pleaded guilty to the conspiracy charge and await sentencing.

Bagley, Cook and Michael Stokes, of Lebanon, have pleaded not guilty.

Bagley, the alleged ringleader, is scheduled to go on trial in February.

Bagley's wife, Marilyn, was charged in March with conspiracy, sex trafficking, forced labor trafficking, document servitude and use of an interstate facility to facilitate unlawful activity.

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