A former Pittsburgh police officer will stand trial on prostitution charges his attorney contends are based on "guilt by association."
Police on Tuesday charged Michael Johns, 45, of Brookline, with 11 criminal counts, including insurance fraud, promoting prostitution, false reports to law enforcement, drug possession and other crimes.
Police first charged Johns with nine criminal counts in August. Prosecutors withdrew six charges at a preliminary hearing in October. The remaining three were dismissed by the prosecution on Monday.
Police also added a drug charge. Detectives found heroin residue in Johns' home during a search on Aug. 29, 2011, according to the criminal complaint. They also found the identification card of a man Johns arrested in 2008. At the time of the arrest, Johns said the man did not have any identification on him.
At Friday’s preliminary hearing, Johns was ordered to stand trial.
Johns was arrested last August after investigators said he paid for rental cars for the women, helped them obtain drugs and allowed them to use his home computer to post online ads.
Johns resigned from the department last year.
Defense attorney Marc Daffner said Johns is hoping to put the charges behind him and move out of state.
“As in this case, as in every case, it's important to remember that guilt by association is not enough,” Daffner said “That's the law and everybody is entitled to that benefit.”
Johns is the third former city officer to face prostitution charges in recent years. Former narcotics officers Talib Ghafoor and Faquar Holland were sentenced to probation in April after pleading no contest.
Mike Manko, spokesman for Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr., declined comment.
Channel 11's news exchange partners at TribLIVE contributed to this report.