Charge against Deese deferred

Gregory Allen Deese

A candidate for North Charleston City Council won't be prosecuted on a charge of soliciting a prostitute if he stays out of trouble for the next month.

The misdemeanor case against Gregory Allen Deese was deferred Tuesday by a city municipal judge for a period of 30 days.

North Charleston Police Officer Kristen Jones agreed to the deferment after meeting with two commanding officers from Deese's U.S. Army Reserve unit and his lawyer, said city attorney Brady Hair. The allegation against Deese was out of character, Hair reported them as saying.

North Charleston officers have the authority to defer cases if they choose, Hair added. "We'll stand by her decision," he said.

The deferral comes as Hair said he originally wanted the case to be transferred to another jurisdiction for prosecution, possibly into the city of Hanahan, citing the political nature of the arrest.

But because of a miscommunication, the transfer request never happened and the case went forward Tuesday as scheduled in front of Municipal Judge Thad Doughty. The case "slipped through the cracks," he said.

Deese was among seven men arrested July 14 by North Charleston police in a sting operation aimed at fending off prostitution in the Charleston Farms and Midland Park communities. At the time of the arrest Deese, 48, of Old Ridge Road, was not a filed candidate. He turned in his paperwork on Aug. 2.

Deese said he was arrested after having a conversation with a blond female who turned out to be a city police officer posing as a prostitute. Their interaction began while he was waiting in line inside a convenience store, he said, and that the woman tried to attract him after he went outside.

"It was just talk," he said Tuesday, adding that no money exchanged hands.

A police incident report says the suspect allegedly solicited a sex act for $20. The incident was captured on audio recordings, the report also said.

After his court appearance, Deese said he would continue to campaign for a seat on council, saying he supports city police officers but had issues with the "upper echelon strategy" of the department.

Deese is challenging incumbent councilman Ed Astle for the District 1 seat, which covers the central part of the city, north of Ashley Phosphate Road and west of Interstate 26. The election is Nov. 8.