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The government maintains Brian Folks, 44, came to Vermont from New York City to set up an illegal drug and sex business that operated between and mostly in Chittenden County.
Folks, who has a manslaughter conviction in New York City in , lined up at least five women — including one minor — and forced them to perform commercial sex or he would withhold heroin and crack cocaine from them, according to the U. He also took compromising pictures and videos of the women to blackmail them, the prosecution maintains. Defense lawyer Natasha Sen of Brandon, co-counsel for Folks, said the credibility of witnesses will be critical and some had told multiple stories.
She said several women will testify Folks did nothing illegal and took them under his wing to give them a place to stay when they had nothing. For many years Vermont federal and state prosecutors and law enforcement officials have often spoken at news conferences and meetings about young women who got hooked on drugs and being forced into sex as a way to survive in Vermont. The Folks trial will be one of the first public unvarnished airings by the women themselves. The jury is expected to hear from the women, drug investigators and more during a trial that is projected to last up to 15 days.
The other people involved in the Folks case — and in other sex-for-drugs cases — have avoided the public spotlight by reaching plea agreements or avoiding prosecution. Instead there will be some pretty graphic stories and pictures. Folks, in order to have control over the women, forced them to line up and see who could hide the most walnuts in their private parts while a video camera captured the event, prosecutor Emily M. That video was just one of several ways Folks controlled the women, the government maintains.
Savner said Folks coerced or forced the women to follow his orders. Judge William K. Sessions III also has ruled two videos showing Folks urinating on women also can be used as evidence.