Nashville, Tenn. April 28, 2012 - A federal prosecutor says evidence
provided in a sex trafficking trial here proves there was a pattern to
recruit and use girls from Minnesota and other states as prostitutes,
but defense attorneys say the government did not prove the wide-ranging
conspiracy alleged in the indictment.
In closing arguments Thursday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Van Vincent told
jurors that Somali gang members recruited girls, told them they were
good at sex and that they could make money having sex. Closing arguments
are to continue Friday.
Nine defendants face federal child sex trafficking charges, but 30
people were accused in an indictment that said gang members ran a
large-scale sex trafficking ring in Minnesota, Ohio and Tennessee. The
other defendants could face trial later.
Vincent pointed to two key witnesses who testified about the sex
trafficking during the trial, who were identified in court as Jane Doe
No. 2 and Jane Doe No. 5.
Jane Doe No. 2 testified she was only 12 when she was used by gang
members to perform sex acts for money and to have sex with other gang
members for free around suburban Minneapolis and St. Paul. She also said
she was brought to Nashville in 2009 to have sex with men.
Jane Doe No. 5 said she was used as a prostitute in Minneapolis before
she turned 18 and she saw young girls used as prostitutes in Nashville.
Vincent also pointed to jail calls of some of the defendants that he
said prove they were trying to cover up the conspiracy by hiding phones,
destroying physical evidence and making up stories about why they were
Defense attorneys, in their arguments, criticized the two witnesses,
saying they were unreliable and inconsistent.
Jennifer Thompson, defense attorney for Idris Ibrahim Fahra, said Jane
Doe No. 2 was a runaway who manipulated people around her and was fed
information from a St. Paul police investigator.
Only when the witness got into trouble, "that's when she plays the
victim card," Thompson argued.
She pointed out the witness, also Somali, doesn't know her age because
her birth certificate was faked.
Thompson contended Jane Doe No. 2 was "a grown-up" as old or older than
the men she was having sex with.
Luke Evans, a defense attorney for Fadumo Mohamed Farah, said Jane Doe
No. 5 was mentally ill and not taking her medication when she testified.
He said she suffers from paranoid delusions and can't tell fiction from
Jerry Gonzalez, defense attorney for Dahir Nor Ibrahim, said the
government was lumping the Somalis together and claimed they were in
gangs because they knew each other and were seen together.
Source: Associated Press