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Feds were looking for child porn on Farnham’s computers

Monday, Mar 24, 2014

* Daily Herald

A warrant for the search of former state Rep. Keith Farnham’s Elgin legislative office shows authorities were looking for evidence of the possession of child pornography.

The warrant, released by the Illinois House in response to a Freedom of Information Act request by the Chicago Tribune, was executed by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations officials at the Democrat’s office last week.
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First in its list of items to be looked for are “documents in any format or medium pertaining to the possession, receipt, or distribution of child pornography.”

The federal warrant is here.

* Tribune

In addition, a federal agent on Thursday took a laptop computer that Farnham used in the Illinois House chamber, and last week agents removed a computer from a legislative office building next to the Capitol, according to the documents and an interview with a state technology official. […]

Farnham has not been accused of any wrongdoing. Randall Samborn, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office in Chicago, said no charges have been filed and refused further comment. […]

The Thursday request for the laptop Farnham used in the House chamber came from an agent with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, part of the federal Department of Homeland Security, said Tim Rice, who oversees information technology for the General Assembly.

“They basically made a request, and I consented to it,” said Rice, executive director of the Legislative Information System, which oversees electronics in the House.

* Irony

Farnham, who took office in 2009, is listed as the co-sponsor on two state bills that sought to increase the penalties on individuals who possess child pornography in certain circumstances.

One bill states that child pornography or aggravated child pornography that does not involve mere possession shall be deemed crimes of violence. The other increases the penalties for individuals that film child porn.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


28 Comments
  1. - anon - Monday, Mar 24, 14 @ 9:32 am:

    He’s innocent until proven guilty, but, if true, this is despicable.


  2. - Palanon - Monday, Mar 24, 14 @ 9:53 am:

    Farnham’s resignation on Wednesday perhaps suggests that the Feds found some of what they were looking for.


  3. - VanillaMan - Monday, Mar 24, 14 @ 9:54 am:

    We are reaching a point where aggressive attorneys can publically attack, indict and imprison Mother Theresa, if she became a bother to them.

    We have allowed our politics to abuse one another publically through our court system. Computers have made it incredibly easy to build a case of circumstances and coincidences big enough to ruin anyone, innocent or not.

    Some criminal acts, such as child porn, have been raised to such a level of approved hysteria, anyone accused of anything remotely similar to such a criminal act, is destroyed as though they were on Joseph McCarthy’s non-existent list of State Department Communists in 1951.

    So, you can safely say that I will hold onto “innocent, until proven guilty”, instead of the contemporary, politically approved, “guilty, until proven innocent”.

    Our acceptance of hysterical prosecution would shock most Cotton Mather Colonialists.


  4. - Concerned Observer - Monday, Mar 24, 14 @ 9:59 am:

    Silly question -

    If a constituent sent Farnham child porn, in the vein of “stop this from happening to our children”, and the feds seized the computer, could he be charged?

    Just spitballing, because a guy who co-sponsors those bills might be the only person not wearing a badge with a legit reason to have seen the images (which, it should go without saying, would be abhorrent).


  5. - Hoping for Rational Thought - Monday, Mar 24, 14 @ 10:33 am:

    I’m with innocent until proven guilty.

    Here is the question - I don’t need to see child pornography to tell you it is abhorrent and that tough laws should be on the books so I’m not sure if that becomes a defense it is a persuasive one…


  6. - Demoralized - Monday, Mar 24, 14 @ 10:47 am:

    If this isn’t true then this guy’s name has been totally maligned. I’m not big on releasing stuff like this until proven true. This can ruin somebody’s life.


  7. - Mike Weisman - Monday, Mar 24, 14 @ 10:48 am:

    >>>>> a guy who co-sponsors those bills might be the only person not wearing a badge with a legit reason to have seen the images

    Like Pete Townsend ?


  8. - John Galt - Monday, Mar 24, 14 @ 10:52 am:

    Concerned Observer–

    I would think that the feds would exercise prosecutorial discretion in that case. I’m pretty sure computer forensics can see when & how often any kiddie porn files are opened up. If they were sent in conjunction with a “we are outrated, we think these photos were taken in our state & we want stronger laws” then they would see that in the email records. So too if he only opened them up once or twice in the context of seeing the original email and perhaps sharing them with local law enforcement or in some appropriate closed committee meeting in Springfield.

    But if the things were opened up multiple times at all hours of the night & day, or worse yet, incriminating emails, credit card transactions, etc., well…..that’s another issue entirely.

    And Farnham’s own resignation and “I’ve been very ill for years” statement doesn’t throw great light on the situation either.

    Totally disgusting.


  9. - John Galt - Monday, Mar 24, 14 @ 10:52 am:

    EDIT: That’s “we are outraged…” not, “we are outrated”


  10. - Leave a Light on George - Monday, Mar 24, 14 @ 11:08 am:

    “I’m not big on releasing stuff like this until proven true. This can ruin somebody’s life.”

    The information was not released it was reported on by the media accessing public documents. The US attorney had no comment.


  11. - Walker - Monday, Mar 24, 14 @ 11:13 am:

    ===I would think the feds would exercise prosecutorial discretion===

    From your mouth to God’s ear. Because that’s how much unchecked power they have garnered in recent decades.


  12. - Responsa - Monday, Mar 24, 14 @ 11:32 am:

    ==And Farnham’s own resignation and “I’ve been very ill for years” statement doesn’t throw great light on the situation either. Totally disgusting.==

    Innocent until proven guilty of course. But what better cover for a personal problem than sponsoring legislation about that “problem”. His immediate resignation and the “I’ve been ill” statement pretty much say it all.


  13. - Anon - Monday, Mar 24, 14 @ 11:39 am:

    == The information was not released it was reported on by the media accessing public documents. ==

    The Feds publicly announced the raid on Farnham’s office and home, which led the media to FOIA the warrants. So the prosecutors intended to malign him, since the public generally assumes that anyone under investigation is dirty. That’s why grand juries are supposed to be secret, to prevent such besmirching of reputations of people who may never be charged with anything.


  14. - Rich Miller - Monday, Mar 24, 14 @ 11:40 am:

    ===The Feds publicly announced the raid===

    No. They responded to inquiries after I told my subscribers about it.


  15. - Anon - Monday, Mar 24, 14 @ 11:41 am:

    == that’s how much unchecked power they have garnered in recent decades.==

    Unchecked power will be abused. That’s a fact of life, which Republicans believe whenever Democrats are in power.


  16. - Bigtwich - Monday, Mar 24, 14 @ 11:54 am:

    ==Our acceptance of hysterical prosecution would shock most Cotton Mather Colonialists.==

    That would be the Cotton Mather who said of the Salem Witch trials, ” “If in the midst of the many Dissatisfaction among us, the publication of these Trials may promote such a pious Thankfulness unto God, for Justice being so far executed among us, I shall Re-joyce that God is Glorified…” ?


  17. - A guy... - Monday, Mar 24, 14 @ 11:54 am:

    I agree with “innocent until proven guilty” as well. Farnham quit abruptly. That’s not a good sign.


  18. - Precinct Captain - Monday, Mar 24, 14 @ 12:34 pm:

    ==Computers have made it incredibly easy to build a case of circumstances and coincidences big enough to ruin anyone, innocent or not.==

    No.

    http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2011/07/hacking-neighbor-from-hell/

    ==If this isn’t true then this guy’s name has been totally maligned. I’m not big on releasing stuff like this until proven true. This can ruin somebody’s life.==

    Should we have completely secret police and judicial proceedings?

    Also, on behalf of myself and others I accept my “true detective” award for not beating around the bush last week regarding Farnham.


  19. - 47th Ward - Monday, Mar 24, 14 @ 12:57 pm:

    ===Also, on behalf of myself and others I accept my “true detective” award for not beating around the bush last week regarding Farnham.===

    Precinct Captain, I called you out for that last week and I was wrong, you were right.

    I hope that makes you feel better.


  20. - Rich Miller - Monday, Mar 24, 14 @ 12:59 pm:

    ===Precinct Captain, I called you out for that last week===

    There was a reason I didn’t delete PC’s comment.


  21. - 47th Ward - Monday, Mar 24, 14 @ 1:25 pm:

    Thanks Rich. That thought occurred to me but it was too late to change what I wrote. Again, I was wrong, Precinct Captain and the others were right.


  22. - Precinct Captain - Monday, Mar 24, 14 @ 2:13 pm:

    ==I hope that makes you feel better.==

    There’s really nothing to feel great about here TBH 47th. I knew I was right and that’s why I wrote what I did last week, but I shouldn’t have gloated about it here today. The focus should be on what, if any wrongdoing, Farnham did. The other focus should be generally on how to make sure images of children aren’t created and traded around in a pornographic manner.


  23. - Anonymous - Monday, Mar 24, 14 @ 2:19 pm:

    Thanks 47 th.


  24. - Anon - Monday, Mar 24, 14 @ 2:21 pm:

    == Should we have completely secret police and judicial proceedings? ==

    Of course not. The bright line should be whether charges are brought.

    Investigations should remain secret unless and until there are charges. Otherwise, any one of us could be investigated by DCFS for child abuse, or by the IRS for tax evasion, based upon anonymous allegations. Even when the allegations are fabricated by someone with an ax to grind, the investigatee is tarnished to the extent it becomes public. I think the reputations of innocent people ought to be protected.


  25. - ArchPundit - Monday, Mar 24, 14 @ 2:29 pm:

    —-We have allowed our politics to abuse one another publically through our court system. Computers have made it incredibly easy to build a case of circumstances and coincidences big enough to ruin anyone, innocent or not.

    Ummmmm…many things that are embarrassing might show up with my IP address–actually a whole metric ton of white supremacist sites would. That said, there is one thing that won’t show up–child porn. He’s entitled to a trial and presumption of innocence certainly, but I have not seen wide scale abuse of child porn charges.


  26. - Rich Miller - Monday, Mar 24, 14 @ 2:31 pm:

    ===Computers have made it incredibly easy to build a case of circumstances and coincidences===

    Except he resigned, citing “health” issues.


  27. - A guy... - Monday, Mar 24, 14 @ 2:42 pm:

    Yep. He was healthy enough to stay the day before.


  28. - Scott L - Monday, Mar 24, 14 @ 5:14 pm:

    I wonder if he will provide the Feds with information on other people


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