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Kerry aide faces solictation charge

A member of John Kerry’s national legal team faces charges that he solicited a prostitute, according to Michigan television broadcast reports.
Melvin "Butch" Hollowell is shown in this Sept. 2002, file photo. Paul Sancya / AP file
/ Source: The Associated Press

A member of Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry’s national legal team received a citation on accusations he solicited a prostitute, but the aide said it was the result of a misunderstanding.

Former Michigan Democratic Party chairman Melvin “Butch” Hollowell, 44, who left his party post earlier this month, was pulled over Tuesday night by Wayne County sheriff’s deputies not far from his home in the Palmer Woods neighborhood.

Deputies saw Hollowell pick up a woman and followed him briefly before making the stop, sheriff’s department spokesman John Roach told The Detroit News for a Friday story. Hollowell was not arrested and was released after his vehicle was impounded. He and the woman both were issued citations, Roach said.

In a statement released late Thursday, Hollowell called the incident “all a gross misunderstanding.” Hollowell said he saw a woman he thought was in distress and stopped to help her.

“The officers indicated that the woman was a known prostitute,” Hollowell said. “No one was more surprised and embarrassed than me when the officers told me this.

“I am confident that these untrue charges will be dismissed quickly and I will be completely cleared,” said Hollowell, who is married and has two children.

Hollowell, a lawyer who once ran for Michigan secretary of state, planned to step down from his position on Kerry’s legal team until the citation case is resolved, WXYZ-TV of Detroit reported.

Kerry’s campaign had no comment late Thursday. “We’re still collecting information and we have no further comment at this time,” said Rodell Mollineau, a Kerry spokesman.

A city attorney could not immediately be reached Thursday.

Gov. Jennifer Granholm appointed Hollowell to the Michigan Civil Rights Commission last week. He contacted her office Thursday and said he planned to resign the appointment, Granholm spokesman Liz Boyd said.

“We are disappointed by the resignation and were totally taken by surprise,” Boyd said. The civil rights position is unpaid, and would been subject to consent of the Republican-controlled state Senate.

Greg McNeilly, executive director of Michigan Republican Party, said the party does not “feel it is a political issue or an issue for public discussion. Our sympathies are with him and his family as he works this out,” McNeilly said.