Former HHS Cyber Security Director Convicted on Child Pornography

He could face 20 years to life in prison when sentenced, his lawyer said.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A former U.S. Department of Health and Human Services official was convicted Tuesday on child pornography charges, and could face up to life in prison when sentenced.

    A jury found Timothy DeFoggi, 56, formerly of Germantown, Maryland, and the former acting director of cyber security for HHS, guilty on three counts, after a four-day trial in Nebraska federal court.

    The most serious of those charges, of engaging in a child exploitation enterprise, alone carries a sentence of 20 years to life in prison, DeFoggi's lawyer John S. Berry Jr. said.

    According to prosecutors, trial evidence showed that DeFoggi accessed and exchanged child porn from a specific website between March 2, 2012, and Dec. 8, 2012, when the FBI shut the website down.

    Prosecutors said that he also exchanged messages with other members of the site to express his interest in rape and murder fantasies involving children, and that evidence showed that he suggested meeting another member in person to fulfill those fantasies.

    DeFoggi is set to be sentenced Nov. 7.

    Berry said he and his client were still deciding whether to move for a new trial.

    The case, Berry said, raised "many interesting and complex issues," as well as questions about his client's Fourth Amendment rights with regard to searches of his home and computer.

    "There was quite a bit of searching by the government, and one of the issues is whether those searches were in fact legal," Berry said. He said there were also questions as to whether evidence were admissible and whether it was sufficient to convict his client.

    DeFoggi's conviction was part of an investigation by the Justice Department into three websites containing exploitative material involving children.

    The administrator of all three sites was also convicted for engaging in a child pornography enterprise. DeFoggi's conviction is the sixth in the investigation.

    --Additional reporting by Sam Schulz