An undercover FBI agent spent "thousands of dollars" on brothels and clubs frequented by prostitutes, including places that hired underage girls, a lawyer charged in court documents yesterday. The agent was reimbursed $14,500 for entertainment, cocktails, and tips over a period of less than a year in 2010 and 2011 working in the Philippines, including $1,600 for a single night last year at the Area 51 club in Manila, federal officials have admitted. Authorities found 19 underage sex workers at the club during a crackdown earlier this year, reports the Los Angeles Times.
The accusations came to light in a court motion filed by a defense attorney seeking to have charges dropped against his client, a weapons-smuggling suspect caught in the agent's net, because of "gross government misconduct." The government’s actions in this case, "if committed by a private citizen, would be serious federal crimes," the lawyer wrote in his dismissal motion. "The conduct went far beyond any standard of decency." The government has not yet responded to the motion. "We will contest the factual assumptions and legal significance of the defendant's challenges," says a representative for the Justice Department. (Read more US Justice Department stories.)