July 11, 2014

Richard Korn acquitted of all child porn charges

7-11-2014 Delaware:

Richard Korn has been acquitted of all child pornography charges against him.

After two days of testimony, Superior Court Judge Mary M. Johnston ruled that while Korn's computers had some 50 images of child pornography, prosecutors could not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Korn knew the images were there or ever viewed them.

According to computer experts, there was only evidence that one of the 50 images was ever viewed and on that basis Johnson dismissed 24 of 25 child pornography possession counts against Korn, a frequent candidate for elected office in Delaware.

As for the 25th charge, involving the lone image that was viewed, "the court finds it cannot be proven who was on the computer," said Johnston.

Korn's attorney, Thomas Foley, had argued that it was Korn's former wife, Magda, who had viewed the lone image.

When Johnston announced her decision Thursday afternoon, a tearful Korn shook hands with and then hugged Foley.

On his way out of the courtroom, Korn declined comment saying, "Not right now. I just want to go see my children."

Korn, 64, has two young children with his former wife, Magda, who testified against him at trial.

The criminal case began in December 2012 when Magda Korn, during a domestic dispute with Richard over what furniture she could take as she was moving out, brought police officers to their Hockessin home. During that incident, Magda Korn told an officer that Richard had child porn on his computer.

At trial, Magda Korn testified that in July 2013, as part of their ongoing divorce proceeding, she had been snooping for financial documents in an external hard drive belonging to Richard and came across an image of a nude teenager.

She said she did not go to police right away because she did not know if an image of a teenager was child pornography. She also said, though they were legally separated, she was living with Korn in the same house for financial reasons.

Foley argued this was the one and only time that an image of child porn was viewed and it was not by Richard.

Magda Korn testified she kept the hard drive hidden from Korn in the months that followed and turned it over to police in January 2013, after the domestic incident. She also testified that she divorced Richard after a stormy 10-year marriage because of his years-long addiction to pornography and because he had started to connect with other women through an internet dating site, sugardaddy.com.

Prosecutor Abigail Layton had argued that the circumstantial evidence that Korn knew about the images and had viewed them was strong. She pointed to several stories that had been saved on the computer that involved sex with children and evidence that Korn had subscriptions to newsgroups linked to child pornography.

After Johnston tossed out the charges, Layton said only that the state respected the court's decision.

Before his January 2013 arrest, Korn had been a candidate for state auditor, New Castle County executive and the Delaware General Assembly.

Only a judge heard the case against Korn because Korn waived his right to a jury trial. Also, on the morning the trial started, prosecutors reduced the charges against Korn from 25 counts of distribution of child porn to 25 counts of the lesser charge of possession of child porn. ..Source.. by Sean O'Sullivan

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