35-year-old Terrance Edwards, on trial Monday for allegedly promoting several young girls and women for prostitution in Montana, denied being a pimp and claimed he operated a legal escort service and website for a handbag company he founded, while serving prison time for an earlier prostitution conviction.

Edwards was charged in U.S. District Court in Billings with a 10-count indictment including sex trafficking by force, transportation of a minor with intent to engage in prostitution, tampering with evidence and distributing marijuana to a minor. Prosecutors declared in opening statements Monday that Edwards is [quote] “100 percent a pimp.” [end quote]

Edwards allegedly targeted women, including three minors, for work in the commercial sex industry, using methods of intimidation, rape and violence to make the victims cooperate. Defense attorneys told the jury that Edwards operated a legal escort service.

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