Judge delays ex-prosecutor’s child porn trial

Posted March 08, 2010, at 9:26 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — The federal trial of a former state prosecutor charged with downloading child pornography on his home computer has been delayed while his new attorney familiarizes himself with the case.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Margaret Kravchuk on Monday appointed Michael Cuniff of Portland to represent James Cameron, 47, of Hallowell after his previous attorney withdrew from the case for reasons not outlined in court documents.

The judge also delayed the start of Cameron’s trial from April 6 until July, although it’s unlikely to be held before September.

Cameron retained his previous attorney, Peter Rodway of Portland, more than two years ago when the then-head drug prosecutor for the Maine Attorney General’s Office learned he was being investigated.

Efforts to reach Cuniff and Rodway were unsuccessful Monday.

It is the practice of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, which is prosecuting Cameron, not to comment on cases until they have been concluded.

Last month, the judge granted Cameron’s request that his bail be modified so he could return home to Hallowell. The defendant had been living with his brother in their native Michigan for more than two years, since his computers were taken from his home in December 2007 by federal investigators.

Computers from Cameron’s home were seized after an Internet service provider reported it had discovered images of child pornography downloaded by an e-mail address traced to Cameron’s residence, according to court documents.

The seizure of the computers triggered a possible investigation by the Maine Department of Health and Human Services, Rodway said at Cameron’s arraignment on Feb. 17, 2009. As a result, Cameron left the home he shared with his wife and children and moved to his brother’s home in Westland, Mich., a Detroit suburb.

The couple, according to court documents, has a son and a daughter, who were full-time students when the investigation began. The children’s ages are not listed in court documents.

The children most likely have turned 18 or DHHS has decided they are not at risk if they live with their father.

Cameron was released to the custody of his brother Daniel Cameron on $75,000 unsecured bail after the former Maine assistant attorney general pleaded not guilty to 16 counts of transporting, receiving and possessing child pornography between July 10, 2006, and Jan. 26, 2008.

That custody was transferred last month to Cameron’s wife, Barbara Cameron. The defendant’s bail conditions, including wearing an electronic monitor and having limited use of the Internet, remain in place.

If convicted, he faces a minimum of five years but not more than 20 years in federal prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

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