Arizona

Jul 8, 2013 5:33 PM by Associated Press

Not guilty plea by owner of raided Phoenix studio

PHOENIX (AP) - The owner of a Phoenix studio that allegedly used pornography as a front for prostitution has pleaded not guilty in the case.

Maricopa County prosecutors say 52-year-old William James Hartwell entered his plea Monday. His next scheduled court date is Aug. 21.

Hartwell and eight women were arrested June 20 following a police raid of the business near Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.

Investigators say New Media Studios allegedly lured clients who want to star in their own adult films.

The raid followed a six-month police investigation.

But Hartwell told authorities that his studio runs "a safe, legal business."

Investigators say the studio frequently placed ads in the adult-services sections of popular websites, asking for models and promoting services for new clients.

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