Wis. investigates who sent lawmakers e-mails containing child pornography in blackmail plot

By Scott Bauer, AP
Monday, August 2, 2010

Wisconsin lawmakers sent e-mails with child porn

MADISON, Wis. — Investigators are trying to determine who sent e-mails containing images of child pornography to Wisconsin lawmakers as part of a blackmail plot.

Ed Wall, the head of the state Justice Department’s criminal investigations unit sent an e-mail Friday to the offices of all 132 state lawmakers warning them of e-mails that have been sent containing child porn.

“The sender acknowledges that the intent of the note was to place child pornography on the recipient’s computer as leverage to attain a desired legislative agenda,” he wrote.

Wall urged lawmakers not to open any attachments or to forward the e-mails if they receive them. The subject line in the messages varies and is misleading, he said.

All the e-mails were sent since July 23 and contain a message regarding investigative efforts by a private group of individuals, Wall said.

The state has declined to release a copy of the threatening e-mail, saying it is part of an ongoing investigation.

Senate Chief Clerk Rob Marchant said he was unaware of anyone in the 33-member Senate who received the e-mail. Assembly Chief Clerk Patrick Fuller said a number of representatives had received the e-mail, but he declined to comment further because the investigation was ongoing.

Several offices of Assembly members contacted by The Associated Press said they either had not received the e-mail or were told by law enforcement not to comment.

Capitol Police Detective Ed Bardon declined to say how many offices received e-mails.

A person must knowingly be in possession of child pornography in order to be in violation of state law. The person must also know the material they possess is sexually explicit and involving children under age 18.

will not be displayed