74-Year-Old Lawyer Facing Human Trafficking Charges Pleads Not Guilty

PORTSMOUTH, Ohio (AP) — A longtime lawyer facing numerous counts related to human trafficking that authorities say occurred over a 15-year period pleaded not guilty Monday to all charges.

A judge set bond at $300,00 for Michael Mearan, who was arrested Friday. He has maintained his innocence.

Mearan, 74, faces nine counts of promoting prostitution, five counts of compelling prostitution, three counts of human trafficking and one count of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, according to Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost. The charges stem from criminal activity that allegedly occurred from 2003 to 2018 and involved six female victims.

If convicted on all counts, Mearan faces more than 70 years in prison.

The alleged sex trafficking was based in Portsmouth, a small city about 100 miles east of Cincinnati along the Ohio River. Mearan operates a law firm in Portsmouth and formerly served on its city council.

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