As jury deliberations entered its second day in the trial of former school principal Thomas Weindl on Friday, his lawyer filed a motion for special jury instruction or, in the alternative, for a mistrial.
It was learned, however, that defense counsel David Banes later withdrew that afternoon the alternative request for a declaration of a mistrial.
After a hearing on the motion, U.S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona denied Weindl's motion for special jury instruction.
The jurors did not reach a verdict and were instructed to resume deliberations this morning, Monday.
In the defendant's motion for special jury instruction, Banes said that, on Wednesday after the defense and prosecution rested, the U.S. government specifically identified an image as depicting child pornography and submitted that image to the jury for consideration.
“However, defense counsel has already confirmed that the aforesaid image actually depicts a mid-twenties adult female and therefore cannot be child pornography,” Banes said.
The image, the defense lawyer pointed out, comes from a well-known commercially produced pornographic video that is widely available on the Internet from numerous mainstream adult porn sites.
Banes listed the alleged adult porn sites.
Banes requested that a special jury instruction be issued directing the jury that the image is not of a minor and may not form the basis for a conviction of access with intent to view child pornography.
In the alternative, the lawyer requested that a mistrial be declared as the jury has considered and may find Weindl guilty of accessing with intent to view child pornography on the basis of that image when, in fact, the image is actually of an adult.
“A grave miscarriage of justice would be committed if defendant is convicted of accessing child porn when, in fact, the image is commercially produced adult pornography involving adult actors who are over 18 years of age,” he said.
The jury deliberations began on Thursday and resumed Friday.
The 68-year-old Weindl is on trial for one count of receipt of child pornography and one count of access with intent to view child pornography.
Weindl is accused of accessing child pornography websites using a Public School System-issued laptop. He admitted viewing adult pornographic websites, but denied accessing websites that contain child pornographic materials.