Everett Cooney waived indictment and pleaded guilty in court in Little Rock, Ark., to a federal charge of sex trafficking an underage female. Chief U.S. District Judge J. Leon Holmes accepted Cooney’s guilty plea.
During the hearing, Cooney admitted that he knew the underage female with the initials of "DB" was between the ages of 14 and 18 when he caused her to engage in the commercial sex acts, from which he benefitted. Pursuant to the plea agreement, the pending indictment was dismissed upon the court’s acceptance of Cooney’s plea to the sex trafficking charge. Cooney faces a minimum of 10 years and up to life in prison. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled by the court. Cooney remains in custody pending his sentencing.
Cooney’s co-defendant, Tommy Handy, is also in custody awaiting trail. The trial is scheduled for Oct. 5, 2009. Handy was indicted on Feb. 5, 2009, on one count of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking and four counts of sex trafficking; two counts of possessing a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence; and conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine. Handy is also charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm on July 25, 2005. If found guilty on the federal charges, Handy faces a maximum sentence of life in prison and a fine in excess of $1 million.
The case is the result of a joint investigation conducted by the FBI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; and the Little Rock Police Department. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Joe J. Volpe and Trial Attorney Jim Felte of the Civil Rights Division’s Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit.