The U.S. Attorney's Office said yesterday that it plans to bring Rep. Jon C. Hinson (R-Miss.) to trial May 4 on a misdemeanor charge of attempted sodomy.
Hinson had asked to enter a "pre-trial diversion program" but prosecutors apparently have rejected the request. Hinson, who has resigned from the House effective April 13, pleaded innocent to the charge, which carries a maximum sentence of a year in prison and a $1,000 fine.
Hinson's status was discussed during a pretrial hearing in D.C. Superior Court yesterday before Judge David L. Norman. Assistant U.S. Attorney Dennis Mruphy said in court that it was unlikely Hinson would be offered diversion.
Hinson was arrested Feb. 4 and charged with committing sodomy with a Library of Congress clerk in a public restroom in the Longworth House Office Building. The felong charge was reduced to a misdemeanor, an action routinely taken when consenting adults are involved. It was not clear whether the Library of Congress clerk will be tried or offered diversion.
U.S. Attorney Charles F. C. Ruff declined specific comment on the case, but said generally prosecutors offer certain first offenders charged with a misdemeanor the opportunity to enter a "pretrial diversion" program, such as community service. If the individual successfully completes the program which usually lasts six months, the charge is dismissed.
Defendants with prior criminal records, however, are tried unless they plead guilty.
Hinson, 38, was reelected last year for a second term in a close race after he acknowledged that he had survived a fire in 1977 that killed nine persons at the Cinema Follies, a homosexual club and theater in Southeast Washington.
Hinson also acknowledged at a press conference that he had been accused of "an obscene act" on the grounds of the Iwo Jima Memorial, a gathering place for some homosexuals. It was that act that apparently disqualified him from the diversion program. Both incidents occurred before his election in 1978.
Hinson's attorney, Michael Budow, declined comment yesterday.
After he was charged, Hinson entered Sibley Hospital here for what his aides called "counseling and treatment."
Hinson was arrested after Capitol police placed the Longworth Building restroom under surveillance following a complaint that it was being used for sexual purposes.