Gay Ex-Hollywood Cop Still Fighting for Badge

Michael Verdugo trying to keep state police certification

By Brian Hamacher
|  Wednesday, Aug 11, 2010  |  Updated 9:46 AM EDT
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NEW YORK - JUNE 12: Designer finalist Michael Verdugo attends the HGTV "Design Star" Ultimate Tour Bus Challenge Competition on June 12, 2008 at Greeley Square in New York City. (Photo by Will Ragozzino/Getty Images)

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The former Hollywood cop who claims he lost his job for appearing in a gay bondage porno still wants to be a cop in Florida.

But the Hollywood Police Department is fighting to have Michael Verdugo stripped of his Florida Department of Law Enforcement certification, his lawyers told the Miami Herald.

Verdugo, 36, claims he was fired last January for being openly gay and for appearing in the porno, even though it was filmed long before he became a cop. Hollywood PD fired him, his lawyers claim, for not disclosing his porno past on a job application.

Verdugo filed a lawsuit against the City of Hollywood in March seeking to get his badge back. The suit heads to court in November.

Meanwhile, the city is fighting to keep the former contestant on HGTV's "Design Star" from keeping his FDLE certification. A hearing in the matter is scheduled for Thursday in Tampa.

"I still want to be a cop," Verdugo told the Herald. "My goal -- not a practical one -- is to go back to Hollywood."

In 1996, Verdugo, then 22, was in a 15-minute scene in "Rope Rituals." Though he didn't do any hardcore sex scenes, he appeared naked and shackled.

A Lauderhill cop in 1999, Verdugo joined the Hollywood force in 2001. When the "Rope Rituals" tape surfaced in 2008, Verdugo lost his cop job and spot on "Design Star."

At a Tuesday rally in Wilton Manors in support of Verdugo, the former cop said he'd continue to fight for gay officer's rights.

"I want my case to be an example of what happens in Florida," he said.

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