A Douglas County prosecutor in court Friday denied that an Alcoholic Beverage Control officer used someone undercover the night he wrote Kansas University basketball player Ben McLemore a citation for minor in possession of alcohol.
McLemore’s defense attorney, Al Lopes, has alleged an unknown woman bought McLemore, now 19, a drink on Nov. 4 inside Abe and Jake’s Landing and that an ABC agent ticketed McLemore — who did not take a drink — before his client could dispose of the Red Bull and vodka drink. Lopes says McLemore entered the club with proper identification, stayed away from the bar and wore a bracelet identifying him as underage.
“He saw the defendant drinking a drink, and that’s how (the citation) happened,” said Mark Simpson, an assistant district attorney.
Lopes has asked District Judge Peggy Kittel to order prosecutors to disclose to the defense the identities of ABC officers and “decoys” and other information about the alleged events because it would be essential to an entrapment defense.
But Simpson said that the agent who gave McLemore the misdemeanor citation was there alone, was not working undercover and that the agent said there was no one there that night working undercover on behalf of the ABC.
“That whole scenario is something that (the agent) says did not happen,” Simpson said of the defense’s version of events.
Kittel said it was an issue for a jury to decide.
“Mainly this is going to come down to a factual issue of what the agent says he observed occurred and what the defendant says happened,” Kittel said. “I don’t know how that’s going to be resolved short of a trial unless you all figure out a different disposition.”
Lopes has questioned how the ABC agent knew what was in the drink because he alleged the agent never asked McLemore that question. Lopes has also asked for more information about how ABC agents are trained and what policies they follow.
“What did they do, and did he follow it? That’s what I need to know,” Lopes said in court.
The next hearing in the case is scheduled for May 29 when a trial date could be set.
McLemore, a freshman from St. Louis, is ineligible to play in basketball games this season because the NCAA declared him a partial academic qualifier.