A judge has sealed the court documents related to former gubernatorial candidate Eliot Cutler’s arrest on child pornography charges, keeping them secret until he is indicted by a grand jury or makes his first court appearance on May 3.

Justice Robert Murray granted the motions in District Court in Ellsworth on Monday to seal the affidavits connected to Cutler’s arrest and the searches of his homes in Portland and Brooklin, said Walter McKee, Cutler’s attorney. In his ruling on the arrest affidavit, Murray noted that the state had “taken no position on the motion.”

Matthew Foster is the district attorney for Hancock County and will act as the prosecutor in the case. He did not return phone calls Monday night.

McKee said he filed the motions to seal the arrest affidavit and search warrants because he feared publication of details about what led to the charges against Cutler and what investigators took from his homes would make it difficult for the court to find an impartial jury if his client is indicted.

Also on Monday, Gov. Janet Mills, Sen. Angus King and Rep. Jared Golden announced that they were making charitable donations with money Cutler had contributed to their campaigns.

A prominent lawyer and well known political figure, Cutler, 75, faces four counts of possession of sexually explicit material of a minor under 12. The four counts are Class C felonies, punishable by up to 5 years in prison.


Cutler was arrested Friday at his farm in Brooklin, which is located in Hancock County, and spent the night in the county jail before making bail, which had been set at $50,000, on Saturday. The bail was twice as much as prosecutors requested.

The investigation into Cutler began with a tip in early December, when the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children sent Maine State Police investigators information that someone in the state had downloaded or uploaded – it’s unknown which – a single illegal image.

That tip led police to execute search warrants last week at Cutler’s home at 84 Pine St. in Portland’s West End as well as at his farm at 523 Naskeag Road in Brooklin, which is known locally as Amen Farm.

In his motion to seal the arrest warrant affidavit, McKee points out that his client has not been indicted and is not scheduled to make his initial court appearance until May 3.

McKee’s motion states that details contained within the arrest warrant affidavit “would undoubtedly be published by the media, adding to the volume of publicity attached to defendant’s case, and substantially jeopardizing the defendant’s ability to receive a fair trial.”

In his motion to seal the documents, McKee points out that it could take weeks or months for the Maine State Police to evaluate and review Cutler’s media devices.


“Public dissemination of the information in the affidavit in support of the arrest warrant would more than create a reasonable possibility, that the release could, and likely would interfere with the ability of a court to impanel an impartial jury and conduct a fair trial and would promote spite and public scandal of a person, who has not yet been indicted. It would also potentially impede a continuing investigation,” McKee argued in his motion to seal documents.

Cutler twice ran for governor as an independent, in 2010 and 2014, losing both races to Republican Paul LePage.

Though Cutler had receded from the political scene in recent years, he had donated to the campaigns of Mills, King and Golden, and their offices confirmed Monday that they plan to donate Cutler’s campaign contributions to various charities.

Mills, a Democrat, is donating campaign contributions from Cutler to the Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault. Cutler and his wife each gave Mills’ campaign the maximum contribution – $3,450 apiece, for her 2022 re-election bid. Mills campaign spokesperson Alexandra Raposo said those funds were donated to the coalition.

“Like people across Maine, the governor was stunned and appalled by the news,” Raposo said. “Exploitation of children – the most innocent and vulnerable among us – is despicable and a fundamental violation of humanity.”

A spokesman for King, an independent, said Monday night that his office is examining its financial records to determine how much money Cutler donated to King’s campaign 10 years ago. While those donations have been spent, King will donate the equivalent dollar amount to an appropriate Maine charity or nonprofit.

A spokesman for Golden, a Democrat, confirmed that Cutler donated $359 to Golden’s campaign in 2018. Following Cutler’s arrest, Golden’s campaign gave $1,000 to the Maine Sex Trafficking and Exploitation Network, a program of the Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault.

Maine GOP Executive Director Jason Savage on Friday had urged Democrats in Maine and across the nation who received donations from Cutler to return the money.

This report contains material from Staff Writer Jordan Andrews and The Associated Press.

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