New trial ordered for judge convicted on prostitution charges

Former Pierce County Judge Michael Hecht was convicted of harassment and paying for prostitutes five years ago, but he will get a new trial after the court of appeals ruled the prosecutor in the case went way over the line.

Assistant attorney general John Hillman showed the jury giant pictures of Judge Michael Hecht during his closing arguments. Those pictures had the word guilty superimposed on them in big red letters.

The appellate court ruled that was flagrant and ill-intentional misconduct and prevented Hecht from getting a fair trial.

Hecht was charged after a heroin addict who worked as a prostitute said the judge threatened to kill him if he revealed Hecht had hired him for sex. Hecht was sentenced to community service. He resigned and has been disbarred.

Hecht admitted to frequenting a Tacoma adult theater but denied ever paying for sex or threatening to kill prostitutes that outed him. He testified he went to the theater because it had really good chicken soup in a vending machine.

Hecht said Tuesday he lost everything in the past five years.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Chris Sullivan, KIRO Radio Reporter
Chris loves the rush of covering breaking news and works hard to try to make sense of it all while telling stories about real people in extraordinary circumstances.
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