An undercover sex sting that used Miss America as bait may be in trouble after the beauty queen told prosecutors that she does not plan to testify against the men she helped arrest.
Lauren Nelson, 20, of Lawton, Okla., worked with police in Suffolk County to target would-be Internet sexual predators, taped for an episode of the TV show "America's Most Wanted."
She posed as a teenager and lured men into chatting online and meeting her at a home, where police and crews were waiting. Eleven men were arrested in the sting.
But one or all of the cases against the men could be in jeopardy after Nelson told prosecutors she did not plan on returning to Long Island to testify, said Suffolk District Attorney Thomas Spota in Newsday's Tuesday edition.
"Her agents have told us that she's not coming back to testify," Spota said. The Miss America Organization did not return calls for comment Monday from a Newsday reporter.
Attorney Michael Brown, who represents one of the 11 men swept up in the sting, said he had the right to cross-examine the beauty queen if she contends that she spoke with his client.
"You've now made Miss America a witness," he said.
"I know that under the constitution of this nation, my client has an absolute right to confront those that are accusing him of any crimes, so in order for the prosecution to go forward, they must produce her and make her available for cross-examination purposes," Brown told .
Given that Nelson actually spoke with at least one of the men arrested during the operation, Spota said he had instructed prosecutors not to present any more cases to the grand jury until they can "determine her involvement." One case already presented may falter, he said.