Attorneys for alleged madam say she wants to rent out building for ‘pole fitness,’ ‘erotic yoga’
Lawyers for Jessica Nesbitt, owner of Kink Extraordinaires, say those endeavors wouldn’t violate court-ordered prohibitions while she awaits trial.
A magistrate judge told a woman accused of running a high-end West Side brothel last year to “get a different line of work” — and even ruled out phone sex — as the woman awaited trial on federal charges of prostitution and financial crimes.
But lawyers for Jessica Nesbitt insisted Friday a recently discovered ad seeking “fetish friendly staff” for a business remarkably similar to Kink Extraordinaires in the 2400 block of West Augusta Boulevard does not violate the judge’s order.
Their explanation: Nesbitt wanted to rent out the building for “pole fitness” showcases, recently described by the New York Times as a “hybrid of art, sport, exotic dance and fitness craze.” She’d also heard from an “erotic yoga” instructor.
None of it meant Nesbitt would engage in “fetish type role-playing” or “physical touching using implements for sexual [desire],” they argued in a new court filing. Rather, they said prosecutors who want to lock her up over it are out to “cripple” Nesbitt’s “ability to earn a meaningful living while defending her case.”
She is a single mom “unilaterally responsible for her son,” their filing notes.
“The industry of eroticism is not unlawful, and Ms. Nesbitt’s area of expertise is in that industry,” defense attorney Adam Sheppard wrote. “She has made no secret of that. She has paid all requisite taxes on her business.”
Prosecutors hit Nesbitt in September with a 13-count indictment alleging crimes revolving around her business, Kink Extraordinaires, which has been described as “the premier Dungeon of Chicago.” Its website said it offered “beautiful, psychologically sophisticated Kinksters” who “play out of a private five-floor dungeon with multiple, fully equipped themed rooms.”
But Sheppard’s partner, Barry Sheppard, has said “there’s absolutely no evidence, whatsoever, that my client engaged in any acts of prostitution.” He has argued since Nesbitt’s indictment that “fetish-based eroticism is not unlawful.”
Still, U.S. Magistrate Judge Maria Valdez told Nesbitt in September, “get a different line of work at this stage.” She later added, “no activities of a prurient nature, may I say that much. So a different line of work altogether.”
Earlier this week, prosecutors asked U.S. District Judge Robert Dow to revoke Nesbitt’s bond and lock her up, arguing a job ad they’d discovered in December on sexyjobs.com for a business called The Premier Playhouse of Chicago violated Valdez’s order.
“We need charming, classy individuals who love the spotlight and who can welcome curious newcomers and seasoned Kinksters to our incredible and luxurious five-floor playhouse,” the ad reads. “We need staff to monitor events and parties, give guided tours, manage KinkBNB room rentals, teach kinky group classes and more. Apply today!”
Assistant U.S. Attorney Devlin Su noted the ad used language that matched descriptions of Kink Extraordinaires. It had last been updated from an account registered to Nesbitt, the billing address matched the Kink Extraordinaires building, and a related phone number had previously been used by Nesbitt. The IP address used to access the account was also registered to a Comcast account connected to Nesbitt, he said.
He alleged Nesbitt had sought to restart Kink Extraordinaires under a new name.
In his filing Friday, Adam Sheppard noted Nesbitt had contacted court personnel in November and December “regarding her starting up of a new rental business whereby leasing agents and property managers — who were not former or current employees of Ms. Nesbitt’s old business —would rent out” the Kink Extraordinaires building to “outside, third-party, groups for various tours and events.”
He not only asked Dow to not put Nesbitt in jail, but he also asked the judge for “clarification as to the authorized uses of the property in question.”