A man convicted in two “bling ring” burglaries of celebrities’ homes pleaded not guilty Tuesday, along with another man, to charges that they stalked a West Hollywood esthetician and her two adult daughters and solicited a man to rape her.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Sergio C. Tapia II barred Nicholas Frank Prugo, 24, and Edward Robert Feinstein, 31, from having any personal, electronic or telephonic contact with the alleged victim, Dawn DaLuise, or coming within 100 yards of her or her two adult daughters.
Prugo and Feinstein are free on bail and are due back in a downtown courtroom on Nov. 19, when a date is scheduled to be set for a hearing to determine if there is enough evidence to require them to stand trial. Both face three felony counts of stalking and one count of solicitation to commit sexual assault.
Prugo served a year behind bars for break-ins at the homes of actress Lindsay Lohan and reality TV star Audrina Patridge.
DaLuise was acquitted in January of solicitation of murder and solicitation of assault with force likely to produce great bodily injury involving rival business owner Gabriel Suarez.
Deputy District Attorney Christine Von Helmont said DaLuise had wrongly convinced herself that Suarez was responsible for stalking her. Someone had also distributed sexually explicit fliers and posted ads on craigslist posing as DaLuise and soliciting males to act out a “rape fantasy,” the prosecutor told jurors in that trial.
DaLuise’s attorney, Jamon Hicks, said his client did not do anything to solicit murder. He told jurors that she “was venting. She was upset. She said some things that aren’t nice,” but “never intended for anybody to die. She did not want this man murdered … We all say things in the heat of the moment that we don’t mean, that we wish we could take back.”
Prosecutors allege that Prugo and Feinstein participated in a scheme to harass DaLuise and her two adult daughters between Dec. 1, 2013, and April 1, 2014.
Prugo and Feinstein allegedly posted an Internet ad in January 2014 soliciting someone to go to DaLuise’s home and rape her.
The two were initially arrested last year in connection with an investigation into the allegations, but were released as the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Fraud and Cyber Crimes unit continued to investigate.
At a hearing last month, Prugo’s attorney, Pat Harris, told the judge, “We are absolutely going to deny that he has any involvement in this case.”
The defense lawyer told reporters outside court Sept. 23 that he believes his client met DaLuise at a Vanity Fair party following the publication of an article about the “bling ring” case.
“I think originally they had some sort of business arrangement where she was helping in some sort of a business that he had, marketing it or something, and that didn’t last very long. And at that point they didn’t really have much of a relationship at all,” he said.
Harris said he didn’t give any credence to the allegations, noting that DaLuise was once facing a similar type of charge.
“… They went to trial, lost and now they’ve taken a 180 (degree) turn and now saying, ‘Well, O.K., we lost that one, let’s try to get these two guys. So it seems like it’s almost a Vegas double-down here at this point because they lost the first time,” he told reporters. “He (Prugo) had nothing to do with any of this, and that will be shown.”
Authorities said last year that Feinstein allegedly had a falling-out with DaLuise.
Prugo — who was one of six people convicted of charges stemming from the “bling ring” case — could face up to 14 years in state prison if found guilty in the latest case.
Feinstein could face a maximum of seven years in county jail if he is convicted of the charges, according to the District Attorney’s Office.
—City News Service