Lawyer facing human trafficking charges pleads not guilty

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PORTSMOUTH, OH (AP) – A longtime lawyer facing numerous counts related to human trafficking that authorities say occurred over a 15-year period has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

A judge set bond Monday at $300,00 for Michael Mearan, who was arrested Friday. He has maintained his innocence.

The 74-year-old Mearan faces nine counts of promoting prostitution, five counts of compelling prostitution, three counts of human trafficking and one count of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity.

The charges stem from criminal activity that allegedly occurred from 2003 to 2018 and involved six female victims. If convicted on all counts, Mearan faces more than 70 years in prison.

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