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In 'Flush the Johns' case, prosecution rests

Nicholas Sisti, of Mineola, one of the 104

Nicholas Sisti, of Mineola, one of the 104 men arrested in the "Flush the Johns" sting last year, appears before Judge Rhonda Fischer in First District Court in Hempstead on Monday, Feb. 3, 2014. Photo Credit: Howard Schnapp

Prosecutors rested their case Thursday against a Mineola man charged with patronizing a prostitute during the "Flush the Johns" sting last spring that for the first time in Nassau County targeted the patrons of prostitutes.

The defense did not rest, but closing arguments were scheduled for Friday in the nonjury trial of Nicholas Sisti, 51, before Judge Rhonda Fischer in First District Court in Mineola.

Defense attorney Mark Panzavecchia has argued that his client only wanted a massage, and tried to show during the weeklong trial that there was no overt money-for-sex agreement during the brief video shot in a hotel room when Sisti met an undercover officer posing as a prostitute.

Prosecutors Victoria Mauri and Robert Castillo sought to show that the totality of Sisti's conduct proved he solicited sex. They said he viewed an Internet ad for escorts, placed a telephone call to the undercover at a number posted in the ad, discussed the price for an hour of her time and then went to meet her at the hotel.

Sisti faces up to a year in prison if convicted of the misdemeanor charge of patronizing a prostitute in the third degree.

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