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Cop Sues for Being Fired Over Porn

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A former police officer's short pornography career is keeping him from staying in law enforcement, he told TheMiami Herald in an interview published Tuesday.

Michael Verdugo of Hollywood, Fla., is trying to get his job back on the Hollywood police force. Verdugo, who is gay, said he didn't think a straight cop who appeared in straight porn would have been fired.

Verdugo was also a contender on HGTV's Design Star, where he finished in fourth place. He was released from the show after a video from 1996 -- three years before he began his law enforcement career -- made the rounds on the Internet. The video was a 15-minute bondage scene from Rope Rituals. He was credited as Jeremy Wess.

Verdugo said he didn't regret his onetime porn appearance, for which he was paid $700. Now 35, he's fighting to get his job back and is preparing to sue the Hollywood Police Department for discrimination and wrongful termination.

The video turned up in July 2008, according to the Herald. Shortly afterward, Design Star's producers disinvited him from a reunion episode. The police department put him on administrative leave with pay. After an investigation, the department fired him in January 2009 for not disclosing the film appearance when he applied to join the force.

The firing "had nothing to do with Mike Verdugo's sexuality. It had to do with his honesty," Hollywood spokeswoman Raelin Storey said.

Verdugo, however, said that if he had appeared in straight porn, his colleagues would have been "high-fiving him in the hallway."

His firing was recently upheld by an arbitrator.
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