STARTS MONDAY

August 13, 2010

Ex-prosecutor's child-porn trial nears

James Cameron has pleaded not guilty

By Betty Adams badams@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

The child pornography trial of the state's former top drug prosecutor starts Monday in Portland -- the beginning of the end of a strange tale that began four years ago.

Police began investigating former Assistant Attorney General James M. Cameron, 47, of Hallowell, after Yahoo! reported finding images of child pornography in the photos section of an account holder later identifed as Cameron's wife.

The led to James Cameron's Feb. 11, 2009, federal indictment on 16 counts of transportation, receipt and possession of child pornography.

He pleaded not guilty and has been free on bail with certain restrictions.

His trial is to begin at 8:30 a.m. Monday in Portland in U.S. District Court for the District of Maine. Cameron has waived his right to a jury trial. The case will be decided by Judge John A. Woodcock Jr.

Since the charges surfaced, Cameron lost his post as a prosecutor with the Office of the Maine Attorney General, ended his 26-year marriage, was forced to wear an electronic monitor, surrendered his passport and had only supervised access to the Internet. His current employment is selling watches online, according to court documents.

His annual income -- about $108,000 in salary and benefits when he worked for the state in 2006 -- is now listed as $25,000 in divorce documents.

Divorce records in Augusta District Court indicate he signed over to his former wife his ownership in their Hallowell home and in a home they owned in Echo Valley Estates, Rome. He also gave her his ownership -- a 35 percent share -- of Arrow Jewelry Findings LLC, a Michigan corporation.

His two children live primarily with their mother.

The Maine Board of Overseers of the Bar confirmed Thursday that Cameron's license to pratice law remains active.

Defense moves

Cameron's defense attorneys already have hinted at their strategy, and some of their motions have already been filed, with mixed results.

Defense lawyers Michael A. Cunniff and Shaun Garry objected on constitutional grounds to the admission of evidence collected by Yahoo, saying that Yahoo improperly acted as a government agent in reporting the presence of the pornographic images via its search of photo albums on its network.

But this week, Woodcock rejected that claim.

"The Court concludes that the mere fact Yahoo and the Government are united against the sexual exploitation of children does not make Yahoo! an arm of the Government," Woodcock wrote.

Cameron also has sought to invalidate some of the charges, saying he was in New York on two dates listed in the indictment.

Of the 16 counts facing him, trial briefs indicate one will be dismissed.

During a search by Yahoo on Jan. 26, 2008, "defendant did not have access to those images on or about the date alleged, as his screen names had been deactivated by Yahoo," according to the government's trial brief.

Cameron's attorneys also plan to question the sufficiency of the search warrant and the scope of testimony by forensic computer examiners.

Cameron had sought a delay in the start of the trial. That motion was rejected Aug. 3. The judge said trial delays up till now were to let the new attorneys become familiar with the case.

"The charges are manifestly serious and have now been pending for over eighteen months," Woodcock wrote. "The Court is willing to accommodate the defendant up to a point, but these charges must be resolved and the court is determined to resolve them this month."

Cameron was initially represented in the case by attorney Peter Rodway. Cunniff and Garry took over his defense in February.

The prosecutors are assistant U.S. attorneys Donald Clark and Gail Fisk Malone.

(Continued on page 2)

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