Southaven Alderman Ronnie Hale pleads not guilty to procuring prostitution

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SOUTHAVEN, MS - Southaven Alderman Ronnie Hale was a no show in court Monday.

"We entered a plea of not guilty and requested a court date. We were advised by the court no criminal court was convening today. They were only having civil cases and Mr. Hale was not required to be present," says Attorney Tony Farese, who  is representing Hale on a charge of procuring prostitution.

Farese says Hale called him  last Wednesday, the day he was arrested. Farese took the case Friday.

"I would ask everyone not to rush to judgement right now and give Ronnie the benefit of the doubt. Ronnie is like everyone else. He is human. No one is perfect," says Farese.

He says the Alderman is embarrassed.

"It is a very unpleasant situation for him to be in. He is a good man, a law-abiding citizen, a parent.  He is embarrassed by the situation. He is going to march forward," says Farese.

Farese won't go into detail on the brief affidavit that only says Hale agreed to give a woman money in exchange for sex. The incident happened on August 29.

WREG has confirmed there may be more than one victim in the case against Hale. Farese says he has no knowledge of that.

"We are charged with hiring a prostitute for her services. Who is the victim here?"  says Farese.

Tony Farese says he has advised Ronnie Hale not to make a statement. He says the alderman plans to continue his work for the city of Southaven as usual.
One thing Farese will be looking into is the lapse of time. The alleged incident happened in August and Hale was not arrested until last week.

Farese says the procuring prostitution charge is a misdemeanor and carries a penalty of a $200  fine and up to 6 months in jail. No word on a trial date yet, but Farese says it could be next spring.

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