PHILADELPHIA His lawyer began his defense last week with a bold admission: "My client is a pimp. There's no denying that."
So it might come as little surprise that a federal jury on Monday took less than three hours to find Rahim McIntyre guilty on three counts of sex trafficking.
Prosecutors alleged that the 36-year-old aspiring rapper, who went by the street moniker "King Kobra," lured at least three troubled teenagers into prostitution and advertised their services on websites such as Craigslist and BackPage.com.
Once he had them under his control, he kept them there by taking all the money they earned "doing dates" for cash and beating them when they disobeyed his rules. He deployed them to teen hangouts like the Gallery and on the social networking site MySpace.com to recruit other young girls.
Because two of the women were 18 when they began working for him, McIntyre faced only one count of sex trafficking involving a minor, a more serious federal offense.
Throughout the three-day trial, McIntyre's lawyer, Lawrence Bozzelli, tried to paint the relationship between the pimp and the three women who testified against him as a "mutually agreed-upon situation."
"Ask yourself - are they embarrassed about the choices they made?" he said. "If they say, 'No, this was not my choice,' then they are painted as victims."
Bozzelli alleged one of the former prostitutes was only testifying now because she was jealous of the sexual relationship McIntyre had with another of his girls.
The now-24-year-old - a thin woman with facial piercings and shorn, dyed red hair - shot back.
"Not at all," she said.
She testified last week that her first encounter with McIntyre's organization came at 16 through another prostitute who went by the alias Lauren Love.
The two struck up a relationship on MySpace, and when they finally met in person in 2006, it didn't take long to figure out what Love and McIntyre were up to, the woman told jurors.
Still, she went along and began meeting men in hotels in Center City and New Jersey. She eventually left McIntyre and Love after two or three weeks, stole all their money, and took a cab back to her parents' home.
McIntyre told investigators that he did not know the girl was 16 at the time.
"This wasn't a job she applied for where she had to fill out an application or present a birth certificate," Bozzelli said. "How would he know?"
Others described McIntyre as a demanding boss who expected his girls to ask permission to buy clothing or food, and once asked one of them to have his name tattooed on her arm.
When one of the teens bought shoes without his permission, he beat her with one until she bled. Another told jurors she took a cab home from Center City one night without his permission and received a beating with a metal hanger.
"All three of these girls may have been incredibly naive. They made bad choices," Assistant U.S. Attorney Michelle Morgan said Monday. "But that's why he picked them. He picked people he could control, manipulate, and order around."
McIntyre now faces up to 15 years in prison at a sentencing hearing set for July 21.
His brother, Rashaad, pleaded guilty to charges of child pornography and sex trafficking of minors in a separate case in July.