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Lawyer Who Claimed Child Porn Was Legal Research Is Acquitted

Posted Dec 20, 2010 8:51 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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A 62-year-old Sioux Falls lawyer has been acquitted of child pornography charges after claiming he viewed the images at work as part of his legal research.

Leo Flynn plans to continue practicing law, the Argus Leader reports. "This just reaffirms why I became a lawyer,” he said outside the federal courtroom. “That's why I'm going to continue to do what I do.”

South Dakota laws protect lawyers and other professionals who view child pornography as part of their official duties.

Flynn told police in a recorded interview that he installed the file-sharing program Limewire on his computer and downloaded child pornography after a former client called with questions. Prosecutors had argued Flynn’s interest in the images was personal rather than professional. They also noted Flynn's statement to police that his life was over, a comment the defense attributed to sarcasm.

Flynn had argued he could not reveal the names of clients who had questions about child porn because of attorney-client privilege. His defense lawyer also told jurors Flynn doesn’t fit the profile of someone interested in child porn because he viewed the material only at work.

Flynn’s friends called him the “perv attorney” because so many of his clients had been accused of sex crimes, the Argus Leader reports. He said he’ll go back to practicing law, although he’s not sure whether he will ever accept another child porn case, accoding to KSFY.com. Jurors deliberated for six hours before reaching the verdict.

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