By Diana Hefley Herald Writers
EVERETT — So far, one former barista accused of engaging in prostitution at an Everett bikini espresso stand has indicated she will fight prostitution charges against her at trial.
She and three other former baristas appeared Thursday in Everett Municipal Court to confirm their Feb. 22 trial date. A fifth women who worked at the Grab-n-Go Espresso stand failed to show up. Judge Timothy O’Dell signed a warrant for her arrest.
The women, ages 18 to 24, are accused of exposing themselves inside the espresso stand at 8015 Broadway, according to police reports. Detectives also witnessed some of the women charging customers to allow them to touch their bare breasts and naked buttocks. The city claims that contact of that kind for money constitutes prostitution.
The women were charged in September with multiple counts of prostitution and violating the city’s adult entertainment ordinance, both misdemeanors.
Three of the women on Thursday asked O’Dell to postpone their trials as they consider an offer city prosecutors are making that would mean the women could avoid jail time.
“We’re very close to an agreement with the prosecuting attorney’s office that we would be very happy with,” said Marysville attorney Brian Ashbach, who represents one of the women.
One woman indicated that she wasn’t going to take the offer and wanted to proceed to trial.
City deputy prosecutor Leslie Tidball said she offered to postpone the woman’s case for two years. The offer would mean that if during the two years the woman didn’t commit any crimes, paid fines and met other conditions, the charges could be dismissed or reduced.
The woman declined and Tidball said the offer was off the table.
Prosecutors are confident they will win at trial and the woman is looking at significant jail time, Tidball said Thursday in court.
The other defendants are scheduled to be back in court in March and April.
Police began investigating after a stream of complaints about unsavory practices at the coffee hut and others around the city. Detectives said some baristas were charging up to $80 to strip down and flash customers while they fixed them lattes and mochas.
Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463; email@example.com.