CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia state Sen. Mike Maroney is set to go on trial in April on charges that he solicited a prostitute, officials said Friday.
A Marshall County court clerk said the Republican lawmaker had his jury trial scheduled for April 14 following a brief pretrial hearing Friday.
Maroney exchanged text messages to discuss prices and arrange meetings with a woman who has acknowledged being a prostitute, according to a criminal complaint. He also sent her a picture of himself smiling along with a message reading “now can I stop by” after she said she wouldn’t meet without a photo of him.
Police had been investigating the woman and say she has told police she became a prostitute so she could buy heroin, according to the complaint.
Maroney pleaded not guilty, turned himself in in August and was released on a $4,500 bond. His attorney did not immediately return a message seeking comment Friday.
After the charges emerged, Republican Senate President Mitch Carmichael issued a statement calling the allegations “deeply disturbing.” The chairwoman of the state Democratic party, Belinda Biafore, has called for Maroney to be removed from the Senate.
Maroney, who represents Marshall County, has still been active at the statehouse this legislative session. He is the chairman of the Senate committee on health and human resources.