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Owner of raided Phoenix porn studio pleads not guilty

PHOENIX -- The owner of a Phoenix studio accused of using pornography as a front for prostitution has pleaded not guilty in the case.

Maricopa County prosecutors said 52-year-old William James Hartwell entered his plea Monday. His next scheduled court date is Aug. 21.

Hartwell and eight women were arrested June 20 after a police raid of the business near Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.

New Media Studios was charged with pandering, operating a house of prostituion, along with other charges. Investigators accused the business of luring clients who want to star in their own adult films.

The raid followed a six-month police investigation, bBut Hartwell told authorities that his studio runs "a safe, legal business."

Investigators said the studio frequently placed ads in the adult-services sections of popular websites, asking for models and promoting services for new clients.

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