Eddie Lee Anderson, also known as "Fast Eddie," was found guilty yesterday of 20 counts of interstate transportation of women for purposes of prostitution and inducing prostitution.
The D.C. federal court jury acquitted the 28-year-old Anderson of one count of obstructing justice, which stemmed from the charge that Anderson urged one woman not to testify before a federal grand jury weighing charges against him.
Anderson, wearing a light blue shirt and a striped tie, stood with his hands clasped in front of him as the forewoman recited the jury's findings on each of the 21 counts. His mother and two female friends who had testified as defense witnesses sobbed in the audience.
U.S. District Judge John Garrett Penn set sentencing for Dec. 3. Anderson, who is being held without bond, faces a maximum penalty of 155 years in prison. His attorneys said they expect to appeal the case and declined further comment.
The verdict drew a crowd that included law clerks from other chambers and janitorial workers who stepped into the courtroom during coffee breaks and stayed after working hours to watch what one called the "Fast Eddie Show."
It capped a month-long trial that featured graphic testimony from five women who described working as prostitutes for Anderson and turning over their earnings to support a lavish life style that included a new Cadillac or Lincoln Continental almost every year. One of the women testified that Anderson broke her nose. Another said he broke her jaw.
Five other women named in the indictment denied that they worked as prostitutes for Anderson. Two of them had told the grand jury that Anderson was their manager.
"We hope [the conviction] will have an inhibiting effect on mid- to high-level pimps . . . about bringing young girls" into the District, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Theodore Shmanda.
The government portrayed Anderson as a greedy hustler who preyed on vulnerable girls in such places as Atlantic City and Las Vegas, beating them into submission or manipulating them psychologically into total dependence on him.
As evidence of the hundreds of thousands of dollars that Anderson allegedly reaped from prostitution in the District and elsewhere, the prosecution introduced what Shmanda termed "tools of the trade of Fast Eddie Anderson" -- a full-length black mink coat, masses of gold jewelry and expensive clothing, including jackets with "Fast Eddie" emblazoned on the lapel.
Anderson testified that his flashy trappings were the fruits of good luck at gambling and a means of distracting card dealers. "The young ladies," he said, "hung around with me basically because I was winning at gambling."
A friend of Anderson testified he gave him the name "Fast Eddie" for his athletic prowess in high school in Lowell, Mass.
In closing arguments, Anderson's defense lawyers tried to cast doubt on the credibility of the government's witnesses, noting that one had admitted taking 10 hits of cocaine before testifying.
Anderson was convicted of transporting 12 women, including 5 minors, across state lines for purposes of prostitution, and of inducing one of the women to engage in prostitution.