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July 25, 2014

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Man accused of posing as cop, raping 2 women on Strip pleads not guilty

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Steve Marcus

Mark Picozzi waits for his preliminary hearing at the Regional Justice Center Tuesday, March 11, 2014. Picozzi is accused of impersonating a police officer and forcing women working for escort services to perform sexual acts.

Man Accused of Impersonating Officer in Court

Mark Picozzi stands by attorney Casey Landis during a preliminary hearing at the Regional Justice Center Tuesday, March 11, 2014. Picozzi is accused of impersonating a police officer and forcing women working for escort services to perform sexual acts. Launch slideshow »

A convicted cop impersonator pleaded not guilty today to charges stemming from allegations that he posed as a vice officer and forced himself on an escort and a prostitute.

Mark Picozzi, 48, is scheduled to go to trial in Clark County District Court on May 27.

Picozzi is charged with 13 criminal counts, including four counts of sexual assault, two counts of impersonating a public officer, three counts of open and gross lewdness, two counts of oppression under the color of office, battery with the intent to commit sexual assault, and robbery, according to court records.

Metro Police arrested Picozzi in January for allegedly posing as a vice officer and assaulting an escort at the Cosmopolitan. Shortly after news broke of Picozzi’s arrest, a prostitute told Metro Police a cop impersonator assaulted her at the MGM Signature Hotel.

The women’s stories were similar: They met Picozzi and discussed payment for services, then he told them he was a vice cop and assaulted them.

Authorities say Picozzi has a lengthy criminal history that includes an active warrant for robbery out of New York. He has been convicted of robbery, kidnapping and impersonating an officer in New Jersey. He also was convicted of fleeing from police officers and was arrested for robbery and grand theft auto in Florida.

After Picozzi’s preliminary hearing, his attorney Casey Landis told the Sun that the alleged victims’ testimony gave him concerns about the witnesses’ credibility.

There were significant differences between what the women said on the stand and what they told police, Landis said.

Picozzi remains in Clark County Detention Center without bail.

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