Heidi Fleiss, Hollywood’s alleged madam, pleaded not guilty to five counts of pandering Monday in Los Angeles Municipal Court, amid a media zoo of reporters from around the world.
Fleiss, 27, decked out in a taupe dress, stiletto heels and sunglasses, also pleaded not guilty to a sixth count of selling cocaine.
Municipal Court Judge Abraham Kahn denied a motion by assistant district attorney Alan Carter to increase Fleiss’ bail by $ 35,000, allowing her to remain free on $ 100,000 bail.
“My client is a virtual prisoner in her home since the publicity started in this matter,” Fleiss’ attorney Anthony Brooklier told the judge. “I have no doubt she’ll make all court appearances.”
Her preliminary hearing hasbeen scheduled for Sept. 10.
The notoriety surrounding her arrest stems from alleged links between her $ 1 ,500-per-session call girls and film industry executives and stars. Last week, heat from the Hollywood rumor mill became intense enough to prompt Columbia executive Michael Nathanson, despite never having been charged or even questioned by police, to publicly deny any “professional” association with Fleiss.
Fleiss, the daughter of a prominent pediatrician, was escorted into court by a half-dozen deputies at around 10 a.m., about three hours after reporters and news cameramen had begun lining up outside. By 7:30 a.m., there were about two dozen cameramen crowding the courthouse’s two front doors, with another dozen upstairs. By the time Fleiss was arraigned, an estimated 200-250 members of the news media were on hand.
The press eventually began to interview each other in the courtroom, looking for new angles on a story that has been heavily reported both in the U.S. and abroad over the past week. “It’s the silly season in London. This is a lifesaver for the newspapers. It’s got everything … sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll,” said Gerard Evans of the London tabloid Today.
Two friends of Fleiss, Bo Money and Victoria Sellers (daughter of the late Peter Sellers), sat behind her during the proceedings. Sellers later told reporters that she first met Fleiss in Palm Springs when they were teenagers.
“She’s a great girl,” Sellers said, adding that she believed Fleiss would be exonerated.
Money, the actress who gained notoriety when she got into a fistfight with Shannen Doherty (“Beverly Hills, 90210”), said she showed up to support Fleiss, whom she says she has known for eight years.