Trial set for porn studio owner charged with running brothel

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William Hartwell's 2013 mugshot (Source: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office) William Hartwell's 2013 mugshot (Source: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office)
PHOENIX (AP) -

Lawyers are scheduled to make opening statements Monday at the trial of an Arizona porn studio owner charged with operating a brothel.

William James Hartwell denies running a prostitution ring and has accused the government of criminalizing speech protected by the First Amendment.

Authorities say prosecuting Hartwell for crimes related to prostitution was lawful.

Hartwell says he was running a legitimate porn studio where amateurs could rent cameras, lights and props to create their own sex scenes with the help of a model.

Prosecutors say it was nothing more than a cleverly disguised brothel.

[READ: Prostitution ring detailed in court docs (June 20, 2013)]

Hartwell has pleaded not guilty to charges of operating a house of prostitution, sex trafficking and sexual assault.

Several women who worked at the studio have pleaded guilty in the case and are expected to testify.

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