Defendant in sex slave case to change plea

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — One of six people accused of sexually trafficking a southwest Missouri woman is scheduled to change his not-guilty plea on Tuesday, two weeks after a federal prosecutor said she wasn’t going to present evidence he tried to hire a hit man to kill her.

Bradley Cook, 33, of the St. Louis suburb of Kirkwood, is facing seven federal counts in Missouri’s Western District, five of which involve claims he tried to hire someone to kill his accuser while he was being held in a federal detention facility in Leavenworth, Kan. Prosecutors also have alleged in court documents that he tried to hire a hit man to kill Assistant U.S. Attorney Cynthia Cordes.

Cook is facing conspiracy and sex trafficking charges involving a woman who said she was a teenager when she moved into the rural Lebanon trailer of co-defendant Edward Bagley and his wife, Marilyn, who also has been charged. The accuser said she was used as a sex slave for years and came to authorities only after going into cardiac arrest following a torture session.

Cook also is charged with use of an interstate facility to facilitate unlawful activity, attempted tampering with a victim, attempted tampering with a witness, use of an interstate facility in commission of murder for hire and attempted witness retaliation. Each of those crimes carries a maximum sentence ranging from 10 to 30 years in prison.

Prosecutors alleged in court documents in January that Cook tried to hire someone to kill the victim and Cordes, the office’s top human trafficking prosecutor, late last year. Last month, U.S. Magistrate Robert Larsen ruled that evidence of the plot against Cordes could not be presented at Cook’s trial unless the prosecutor removed herself.

Cordes responded that she would continue prosecuting the case and would not present evidence of the alleged murder-for-hire plot against her.

In Missouri’s Eastern District, Cook is facing a charge of owning guns while being a marijuana user.

Cook’s attorney, Carter Collins Law, acknowledged Tuesday’s change-of-plea hearing but declined to comment further.

Two other defendants, James Noel and Dennis Henry, have pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit sex trafficking by force, fraud or coercion.

Noel admitted going to Bagley’s home on several occasions to watch and take part in torture sessions in which the woman was shocked with homemade sex devices.

Henry, a former Nevada, Mo., postmaster, admitted taking part in the torture sessions, having sex with the woman and accompanying Bagley and the woman to California for a fetish photo shoot that resulted her appearing on the cover of 2007 issue Taboo magazine, a bondage-fetish publication.

In addition to the trafficking charge, Henry pleaded guilty to transporting the victim across state lines for sexual activity.

The sex trafficking charge has a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

The U.S. attorney’s office in Kansas City declined to comment about the case.

Cook’s plea deal will leave only Michael Stokes, 63, and Edward and Marilyn Bagley as defendants. Stokes is charged with conspiracy, sex trafficking by fraud, force or coercion and use of an interstate facility to facilitate unlawful activity.

The Bagleys are facing the same three charges, in addition to forced labor trafficking and document servitude. Edward Bagley is charged with the additional crimes of use of an interstate facility for enticement, enticement to travel for sexual activity, transportation for sexual activity and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence.

Prosecutors said Ed Bagley posted videos and other images on the Internet showing the young woman engaged in sexual activities, describing her as his sex slave who would perform sex acts and submit to torture for other people during encounters online or in person.

Bagley is accused of taking payments of cash, cigarettes, computer hard drives, even meat, to let other men come to his home and torture her. Prosecutors said he also forced the girl to work as an exotic dancer and threatened to punish her if she was not a top earner at the clubs where she stripped.

Bagley’s attorney, Susan Dill, said she didn’t think Cook’s plea would have an impact on her case.

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