San Jose man pleads to Santa Cruz County underage sex and drugs case


Michael Russell

SANTA CRUZ — A San Jose man pleaded no contest Tuesday to charges of furnishing drugs and conducting sexual relations with a Santa Cruz County minor.

Michael Russell 

Michael Russell, 24, changed his plea ahead of trial after the Santa Cruz County District Attorney’s Office amended its complaint a day earlier. Prosecutors withdrew nine of 16 charges, primarily relating to a 16-year-old Santa Cruz girl who fatally overdosed in November at the Corralitos home of Russell’s mother.

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In regard to a 17-year-old victim, Russell pleaded no contest to seven felonies, including unlawful sexual intercourse — originally filed as a sex trafficking charge, two counts of possessing obscene matter, two counts of an adult giving a minor a controlled substance and two counts of lewd communications with a minor. According to the District Attorney’s Office, the abuse spanned July 2020 to July 2021.

Russell is scheduled to appear before Santa Cruz County Superior Court Judge Stephen Siegel for sentencing at 10 a.m., Feb. 8.

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Source:: The Mercury News

      

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