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Club Velvet Owner Has Sex with a Minor; Seeks to block Grand Jury indictments

Virginia- The owner of a Richmond strip-club is trying to stop a multijurisdictional grand jury from hearing evidence or indicting him on charges of illegally filming sex with a minor.

The motion, filed late Monday by the attorney for Samuel J.T. Moore III, said that “indictments are anticipated pertaining to charges” related to laws against unlawful filming and production of child pornography.

Defense attorney Michael Morchower asked the Circuit Court to prohibit the multijurisdictional grand jury from acting in the case because he said the expected charges are beyond the scope of its authority under state law.

‘I think the Commonwealth’s Attorney had intentions of charging Mr. Moore with . . . child pornography,” Morchower said today.

Chief Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Matthew P. Geary would not comment on whether his office was seeking an indictment of Moore on child pornography charges.

“It would be premature for me to confirm what the indictments might be,” Geary said today.

Prosecutors previously had said they would seek a felony indictment against Moore for unlawfully filming sex he had with a minor in his residence above Club Velvet, a semi-nude strip club he operates on South 15th Street in Shockoe Bottom.

They also are seeking indictments against Moore, 44, on two misdemeanor charges of contributing to the delinquency of a minor for having sex with the 17-year-old girl on Feb. 20. Prosecutors originally charged him with the misdemeanors in Juvenile & Domestic Relations Court but decided not to prosecute them there. Instead, they said they would seek indictments to bring the case to Circuit Court.

In a separate motion filed yesterday, Morchower also asked the court to require the return of items seized by police, state and federal agents in a search of Club Velvet and Moore’s residence early Feb. 23. Morchower said the property was seized under an illegal search warrant.

The search was part of an investigation by Richmond police, and agents for the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, the Internal Revenue Service, and the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. They are investigating possible prostitution, public nudity, and illegal drug use at the club, according to the search warrant. No charges have been filed in that investigation.

Morchower’s motions will require a hearing in Richmond Circuit Court to determine if the grand jury can hear the charges against Moore and whether the seized property must be returned. Geary said he expects a hearing next week before Circuit Judge Richard D. Taylor Jr. The grand jury meets again on April 23.

“I don’t think the motion has any legitimacy, and I would expect that the court would agree,” Geary said.

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