Trial Nears As Defense Awaits Computer Forensic Results

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The defense for a man accused of harboring hundreds of files of child pornography on his computer is hurriedly trying to get forensic analysis of the man’s computer completed before trial.

For more than a year, the state has held the computer in evidence and just recently released it to the defense for its own analysis.

The jury trial is expected to last six days and begin July 20 in Globe, said Gila County Superior Court Judge Peter Cahill.

More than 18 months ago a grand jury indicted a 73-year-old Rim Country man on 10 counts of possessing electronic images of minors engaged in sexual acts or content.

It is the Roundup’s policy not to name victims or suspects in sex crimes. Suspects are only identified after conviction.

Technicians reportedly found the photos when the man brought his computer into a Payson computer repair shop for virus removal. Employees reported the images to police.

During a search of the man’s home, officers allegedly found a flash drive holding pictures of underage girls along with a paper titled, “How to hide porn on your computer” and another showing how to find images of minors, according to a police report.

Forensic analysis by the state and now the defense has held the trial up for some time.

Experts are looking through 225 pieces of evidence found on flash drives, zip and floppy disks, CDs and hard drives seized from the man’s home.

The man told police he did not download the images and they appeared because of a computer virus.

The man’s defense team has hired computer forensic examiner Lonnie Dworkin of Scottsdale to examine the imaged drives.

Cahill granted the man’s attorney Elizabeth Flynn a protective order so Dworkin could access the evidence, which is presumably illegal to possess due to the underage content.

“Our consultant is examining the evidence using this order to protect him and the rest of the defense team from being charged with a crime for possessing this evidence,” Flynn said in an e-mail.

Dworkin said in a letter to Flynn that it is imperative he have access to all relevant computer evidence.

“Digital forensic exams are highly complex,” he said.

“Exams often require multiple sessions to develop or confirm theories of defense, verify conclusions and address defense team questions.”

Dworkin is running a variety of tests to reconstruct and prove user activity on the computer, including virus scanners, log files and system diagnostic software. Dworkin will try to determine how the images ended up on the man’s computer.

It should take Dworkin a few weeks to complete the work, said the man’s co-attorney Michael Bernays in court Monday.

“He is the only guy in the state that I know of who does this type of forensic work,” Bernays said.

Cahill warned Bernays that Dworkin must finish his analysis soon because the July 20 trial date is firm.

Flynn said it has taken some time for the defense to get its hands on the evidence due to the state’s own analysis.

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