A Socialite’s Fall

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Michael J. Alexander kept his child porn in a folder labeled “Segafredo.”

Hearing the name of that long-dead Plaza nightclub was the only real surprise during the former ad executive’s appearance in federal court today. Wearing an orange prison jumpsuit and shackles, Alexander faced Federal Judge Nanette Laughrey and pleaded guilty to nine counts of receiving child pornography over the Internet.

Alexander, 44, was described as a “Brookside socialite” when he was arrested on October 14, 2006. He was a regular at J.J.’s wine bar near the Plaza and showed up in society-page pictures of annual black-tie events such as Jazzoo. The ad exec for Big City Marketing was known for hosting regular fundraising events at his bachelor pad at 62nd Street and Morningside Drive (which was featured on the Morningside Neighborhood Association’s homes tour in 2006). The way the Neighborhood Association described it, “The owner of this spacious 1929 home has turned this home in to a show-house worthy of the best guests…. A rare find in Brookside!”

I’d been to parties at that house. It looked as though he’d furnished it with the gifts from a hundred bachelor parties. There were '20s-era pinup girls all over his guest bathroom and towels embroidered with little martini glasses. His friends were paunchy, middle-aged guys with gorgeous blond women on their arms, the kind of guys who smoked cigars and had seats in the hot-tub section of Arrowhead stadium.

According to court documents, on October 14, 2006, an ex-girlfriend of Alexander’s showed up at Kansas City, Missouri, Police Headquarters and gave this statement: “I was contacted by [MM] saying there might be some videotapes of me at Michael’s house. He said Michael may have videotaped me without my consent. Then Mark gave me Michael’s current girlfriend’s phone number and said we should talk. I contacted [ES] who told me she had found a hidden camera in Michael’s bedroom. She pushed some buttons and viewed videotapes, women nude and women having sex with him. She also viewed a tape of me. She hasn’t met me but Mark described what I looked like and I described what I looked like. She said the videotape she saw of me I was nude but she did not watch the entire video to see if we were having sex.”

Court documents say that the KCPD’s Tactical Response Team broke through Alexander’s door with a battering ram the night of October 14, 2006, and encountered Alexander. An officer told Alexander to get down three times, finally shoving him to the ground when he didn’t comply. They found cameras aimed at Alexander’s backyard pool and hot tub and also in his bedroom closet, hidden under a baseball cap and pointed at the bed.

While searching the premises, they found photos printed from a Web site showing underage girls in provocative poses. “Government’s Exhibits 7 and 31 consist of photographs of what appear to be juveniles naked that were recovered from defendant’s residence,” court documents read. Police seized Alexander’s home and work computers and, after obtaining search warrants, found more photos and learned that Alexander had given his credit card number to an online child-porn club and been invited to join at least one more.

Alexander told police at the time of his arrest that his photos were “art” and were “inspiring,” and also that “sometimes it’s hard to tell a girl from a woman.” Today in court, some of the girls in the photos were described as “prepubescents.” Alexander told judge Laughrey, “I guess what I’m saying is they [the girls in the photos] weren’t having sex.”

“But you do understand that they were engaged in what is considered sexually explicit conduct?” Laughrey asked him.

"Yes," he replied.

Laughrey then ordered a presentencing investigation; presumably, Alexander will be sentenced later this year. He could face five to ten years of jail time for each of the nine counts of child porn; Laughrey can choose whether to set those to run concurrently or consecutively – the latter would mean a long wait before Alexander’s next Jazzoo.

As he was led out of the courtroom, Alexander lifted his shackled arms to wave at an elderly man in the gallery. It sounded like he said, “See ya, Dad.” – Nadia Pflaum

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