spousal privilege

If These 2 Strippers Prove They’re Lesbian Lovers, Will They Still Be Forced to Testify Against Each Other?

One of the rarely discussed drawbacks of gay marriage being illegal, or unrecognized, in most states is that same-sex partners cannot invoke spousal privilege in criminal cases, which permits husbands and wives to choose not to take the stand against each other. (Unless, of course, they’re suing each other, as in a divorce.) But two men or two women in a relationship, no matter how committed, can theoretically be forced to testify about a partner’s murderous rampage, or embezzlement, or what have you. Except the case of New York strippers Cassandra Malandri and Falynn Rodriguez — who are charged with offering sex to an undercover cop for $5k in 2008, and face 90-day sentences — is putting the notion to the test.

Prosecutors want Malandri (aka porn star Alexia Moore) and Rodriguez to be forced to tattle on each other about what happened that night at NYC’s Big Daddy Lou’s Hot Lap Dance Club. But the pair claim they are lesbian lovers, and thus immune from forced testimony. Interestingly, the Manhattan district attorney’s office has subpoenaed an as-yet-anonymous boyfriend in an attempt to claim the pair are not lovers — which could send us down a whole lesbian-vs-bisexual rabbit hole. Which would make for interesting court proceedings! (Then again, the judge closed the court after the cop received an unrelated death threat.)

Both girls already rejected plea deals, as most of these cases wind up with, which would’ve included no punishment or community service, just a disorderly conduct conviction, which wouldn’t be on their criminal records — but only if the women admitted to being prostitutes.

No matter what happens, it’s an interesting interjection into the larger debate of gay marriage, and whether two strippers can somehow “prove” they are indeed committed lovers, and whether that even matters under the law.

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