Commonwealth Journal

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July 13, 2013

Cox withdraws as counsel for man charged in child porn case

Somerset —

A local man accused of producing and possessing child pornography appeared in U.S. District Court on Friday.
A hearing was held on a motion by attorney Jerry J. Cox to withdraw as counsel of record for defendant Eric Whitson.
Whitson, 36, of Somerset, also made a motion to continue his sentencing hearing that was originally scheduled for Friday.
Both motions were sustained by U.S. District Judge Danny C. Reeves.
Court documents state that Whitson should file any motion seeking to withdraw his guilty plea, or a notice advising the court that he does not intend to file any such motion, no later than August 12 of this year.
After receipt of any such filing, the court will schedule the matter for hearing.
The defendant was remanded to the custody of U.S. Marshals pending future proceedings.
Whitson’s sentencing was originally scheduled for this past June after he pleaded guilty in February to one county of producing child pornography and one county of possession of child pornography.
Judge Reeves ruled to sustain the motion, with no objections from the prosecuting attorneys, and sentencing was reset for July 12, 2013 in U.S. District Court in London, Ky.
Following the February re-arraignment, it was learned that the prosecution moved to recommended 180 months, or 15 years, in prison for Whitson based on his charges.
Whitson had also been charged with two counts of receiving child pornography, but the U.S. moved to dismiss those charges following a plea deal.
Whitson was arrested on November 21 by Somerset Police Department detectives and agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation at his home on Cooper Drive in Somerset. Authorities were carrying out a federal arrest warrant based on evidence of child pornography found on items taken from Whitson’s home during a search. 
The arrest came after a two-week joint investigation conducted by SPD and the FBI, which began on November 5 after SPD received a complaint from an alleged adult victim who stated he’d discovered a camera in Whitson’s bathroom. The camera was reportedly positioned at groin height and faced over the toilet tank to catch the view of a male’s genitals when standing and urinating.
Images captured by the recorder could be viewed in real time in Whitson’s bedroom, according to the details of the plea agreement.

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