Paul Fraughton, Salt Lake Tribune/Pool
Santiago Steve Maese appears in court Monday.

A judge Monday postponed the sentencing of Santiago Steve Maese, who was convicted in July of several felonies related to running a prostitution ring, after his lawyer presented the judge and prosecutor with a 99-page legal document only minutes before his sentencing.

Defense attorney Gil Athay asked for a new hearing since he was filing a motion in arrest of judgment or, in the alternative, a motion for a new trial.

Athay said the document contains nine separate issues that would support his client's position that the court withhold judgment because of errors in the legal process or, alternatively, that Maese deserves a new trial.

Prosecutor Chad Platt objected to getting a "surprise motion" at the last minute and urged that the sentencing go forward.

However, 3rd District Judge Randall Skanchy set a new hearing date of Sept. 22. He said if the prosecutors need additional time to address what is in Athay's motion, that could be arranged through a telephone conference.

After a July trial and more than four hours of deliberation, a jury convicted Maese of four counts of exploiting a prostitute, a third-degree felony; and one count of a pattern of unlawful behavior, a second-degree felony. He was found not guilty of a money laundering charge.

Maese took the stand during the trial and said when he took on the Doll House escort service, he wanted to run a legal business that was all about "creating a fantasy" for clients. Maese said he had an attorney give presentations on what constituted legal conduct to the females who worked for the service, whom he characterized as independent contractors.

This latest motion says:

• The court made a mistake in not ruling on Maese's motion for a bill of particulars (written detailed information concerning the charges) before trial.

• The court also erred in not forcing the state to provide a bill of particulars.

• Maese's constitutional rights to a unanimous verdict were violated.

• The court erred in allowing one woman's testimony about being raped as evidence of a count of exploiting prostitution.

• The court should not have allowed four alternative theories for one count of pattern of unlawful activity when Maese was charged with only one count.

• The state's rules of evidence forbid the introduction of a letter written to the parents of a woman who had worked for the Doll House.

• Prosecutors used evidence at trial that had not been provided to Maese, which violates the Utah Rules of Criminal Procedure.

• Actions and remarks made by the prosecutor "constitute prosecutorial misconduct" that "prejudiced the outcome of the trial."


E-mail: lindat@desnews.com