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Alleged cop-run brothel trial continues

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Five witnesses testified yesterday on the second day of the trial of New Brunswick police officers Detective James Marshall and Sgt. Marco Chinchilla.The state has charged Marshall, 44, and Chinchilla, 41, with allegedly operating brothels, promoting prostitution and official misconduct. The officers were indicted for these offenses in 1998. Luis Posadas, who rented space at one of the alleged brothel sites, Michelle Thibeault and Joyce Sweeney are charged with allegedly working at the brothel.All the defendants have pled not guilty.Attorneys Jack Arseneault, who represents Marshall, and Barry Albin, who represents Chinchilla, argue that their defendants are victims of a frame-up by two main witnesses who have personal reasons for accusing the officers.Officer William R. Milligan testified that on April 11, 1997, he was dispatched to an incident at 86 Patterson St. He recalled that Marshall and his wife Sharon were in a "domestic dispute," exchanging accusations.Milligan said there was damage inside the building: slashed massage tables, wall hangings torn down and overturned synthetic plants."She was irate," Milligan said, referring to Marshall's wife, who caused the destruction.Gerald Hughes, a witness called by Assistant Middlesex County Prosecutor Lawrence Welle, was general manager of a linen business that had a contract in 1998 with Studio 121 Massage, the massage parlor located at 121 Jersey Ave. alleged to be a brothel.Hughes said he had records of renting sheets, bath towels and pillowcases to the parlor, but that after one delivery in October 1998, the business never received its used linens from the massage parlor."I've had a lot of losses like that," Hughes said, referring to the loss of his linens. "With massage parlors, a lot of times they are shut down and the people disappear.""In the linen industry, I've never run into a massage parlor that wasn't a brothel," Hughes said. "In the soil room, the girls want to wear gloves. [The soiled linens] come back with rubbers and stains on the sheets. I was in the linen business 20 years. I don't think [the defendants] are bad people. They are businessmen, but that's not up to me," Hughes said.When Hughes was dismissed from the witness stand, he said to Chinchilla and Posadas, who sat in the back of the courtroom, "Good luck, guys."Witness Anton Geiger, who owns the building on 121 Jersey Ave., said he never had any problems with Posadas, who rented the third floor of the building in 1998."The guy said, 'Hey, there's a massage parlor there.' I said, 'That's new to me.' I was very upset," said Geiger, who still rents to Posadas. "To me a massage parlor, where I come from, it's a bordello. I told Posadas, 'I'll be back.' I couldn't believe it. When I came back, there was nothing there. I believed him when he told me there was nothing there."

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