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Court overturns sex-for-tickets case

By Alfred Lubrano, The Philadelphia Inquirer

PHILADELPHIA — The Superior Court of Pennsylvania on Tuesday reversed the attempted prostitution conviction of a woman who was famously tried for trying to trade sex for Phillies World Series tickets.

A jury in March 2010 found Susan Finkelstein, 45, of West Philadelphia, guilty of the third-degree misdemeanor after clearing her of the more serious charge of prostitution, lodged against her after she placed a racy online ad seeking tickets to the Phillies-Yankees series in 2009.

She was sentenced to one year of probation and 100 hours of community service. The case made headlines around the world.

In the Tuesday ruling, the court agreed with Finkelstein’s attorney that if she was not guilty of prostitution, she could not then be guilty of attempted prostitution.

“The crime of attempt is subsumed in prostitution,” the court’s finding reads, “and inasmuch as she was acquitted of prostitution, she may not be convicted of attempt.”

William Brennan, Finkelstein’s attorney, said Tuesday that the court’s ruling left him “elated.”

He added, “I felt that Mrs. Finkelstein was never in the business of prostitution, and that it was unfair to allow the commonwealth to convict her of this improper fall-back charge.”

In the fall of 2009, Finkelstein, then a public-relations specialist, said in the ad for tickets that she was a “gorgeous tall buxom blonde,” adding that her price was “negotiable” and that her approach was “creative.”

The ad was seen by undercover vice officers in Bensalem. They answered it, and received three photos from Finkelstein showing her topless.

Cops then set up a sting in which they met with Finkelstein, posing as ticket holders. They later said that she offered sex acts for tickets, and Finkelstein was arrested.
The Bensalem Public Safety Director called a press conference announcing the arrest, and the news shot around the world.

Finkelstein had said that she was only trying to flirt her way to discounted tickets.
As it happens, a local radio host gave her free tickets, and Finkelstein continued her 15 minutes of fame by later wearing a leopard suit to Wing Bowl, a Philadelphia eating contest.

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