Wednesday, April 23, 2014
The Associated Press
CONCORD, N.H. — A New Hampshire lawyer remained stoic Thursday as a jury pronounced her guilty of exploiting her 14-year-old daughter to produce child pornography.
Jurors had the federal case for less than an hour before convicting the 43-year-old woman on all eight counts: transporting her child across state lines to produce child pornography, possession of child pornography and six counts of sexual exploitation to produce child pornography.
Her daughter was whisked away right after the verdicts by federal victim advocate Jennifer Hunt, who asked reporters to refrain from approaching her.
The convicted sex offender faces a minimum, mandatory prison term of 25 years and a maximum of 100 when she is sentenced April 22, U.S. Attorney John Kacavas said.
Defense attorney James Moir said it's too soon to decide whether to appeal. He said neither he nor the defendant knew the 14-year-old was in the courtroom.
The trial lasted only two days but jurors were presented with a series of sexually explicit videos that prosecutors said the mother made of her daughter having sex with two men on different occasions, and a video of the mother performing oral sex on her daughter in May 2012.
Juror Peter Evans of Manchester said it was a difficult case to deliberate, "but the evidence was pretty overwhelming."
"I feel confident we made the right decision," Evans said. "She's going to deserve whatever she gets."
Kacavas said he was not surprised by the speed with which the jury reached its verdicts.
"This is a graphic case in which the defendant made the video evidence that speaks for itself," Kacavas said.
In their final argument Thursday, prosecutors played the defendant's own words -- recorded during various expletive-laden jailhouse telephone calls to her parents in December -- calling her daughter a liar and blaming her for her predicament.
"This is not her daughter's fault," Kacavas said. "Tell her by your verdicts she should have been a mother."
Moir argued that his client did not force or prompt her daughter to engage in the sex acts she videotaped.
"You can hate her. You can be morally outraged by what she did," Moir told jurors. "You can have these emotions but you have to put them aside when you deliberate."
Two men testified that they had sex with the defendant and with her daughter multiple times during separate encounters in 2012, including a weekend-long encounter in Ontario, Canada in May 2012 -- three weeks after the girl had turned 14. Both men said the defendant videotaped several of the sexual encounters.