Court hearing postponed for former commissioner
The first court appearance for former Leavenworth County commissioner and adult nightclub owner Wayne Eldridge has been postponed until Aug. 24.
Eldridge, owner and operator of Whispers Cabaret, located in the building of Ma Belles just outside Basehor on Kansas Highway 7, has been charged with aiding and abetting public nudity, promoting prostitution and promoting obscenity.
The charges against Eldridge stem from an investigation conducted by the Leavenworth County Sheriff's Department on March 8. Two deputies allegedly observed lap dances as well as topless dancing.
Last August, Leavenworth County commissioners passed a resolution banning nude dancing in any establishment regardless of whether the business serves alcohol. Eldridge was on the County Commission at the time the resolutions was passed.
Eldridge was scheduled to make his first court appearance on Wednesday, Aug. 1, but because of a scheduling error, the hearing has been postponed.
Eldridge's defense attorney Dick Bryant said his firm specializes in areas dealing with the First Amendment and the case against his client has several flaws.
Four dancers who worked at the club are also charged in connection with possible illegal activity at Whispers.
Carolyn Trader, 24, Loretta Matlock, 23, and Amanda Nault, 24, are charged with public nudity.
A fourth dancer, Laura Campos, 25, is charged with public nudity, prostitution and promoting obscenity.
Bryant does not represent any of the dancers, but said the dancers' performance was not obscene.
"These girls are doing something substantially less than what is occurring statewide," Bryant said. "So, therefore, there is a degree on which it is accepted and it is accepted on a statewide level. They don't have the luxury of saying 'We don't like this on a particular block,' they have to look at it from a statewide review."
Whether the cases against Eldridge and the dancers will be tried together is unknown, although Bryant said he would push for separate trials.