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Man wants child porn evidence thrown out

BRENTWOOD — A judge is now considering whether to throw out evidence against a Hampstead man indicted on more than 50 charges related to possession of child pornography.

Lawyers for Robert Letoile, 41, argued on Monday that the search warrant used to seize his home computer in 2010 contained information already deemed inadmissible in court.

Monday&#';s hearing in Rockingham County Superior Court marked the second time prosecutors and defense lawyers sparred over the seizure of Letoile&#';s computer.

Judge Larry Smuckler threw out all evidence against Letoile last year.

Smuckler concluded that Hampstead police had not detailed enough information in their initial search warrant during their investigation.

Prosecutors responded by getting a second search warrant.

Defense lawyer Joseph Malfitani protested that decision on Monday, saying Hampstead police were essentially using the same witness — Letoile&#';s ex-wife — as a means to seek permission to search the computer.

But prosecutors maintain that the ex-wife provided new information about the photographs she saw on Letoile&#';s computer in early 2010.

She recalled that information only after the first search warrant was ruled inadmissible, according to prosecutors.

Judge N. William Delker heard testimony from the ex-wife on Monday, along with a Hampstead police officer who investigated the case.

Malfitani suggested the woman&#';s testimony couldn&#';t be trustworthy because she heard at a prior court hearing what kind of details police lacked in their initial warrant used to search the computer.

He also questioned whether statements she made to police about finding links to pornographic web sites in the computer&#';s browsing history amounted to evidence of child pornography being stored on the computer.

&#';For all we know, (she) was clicking on files listed on these web sites,&#'; Malfitani said.

Assistant County Attorney Karen Springer argued that the police were free to develop more information in the case, despite the judge&#';s ruling.

Delker quizzed Springer and Malfitani about their arguments before closing the hearing.

Indictments say that Letoile allegedly possessed a litany of files showing children engaging in sexual acts — sometimes with adults — between September 2006 and February 2008.

Hampstead police arrested Letoile in June 2010 on charges that he molested two young girls. Charges of possession of child pornography came weeks later.

A jury last April found Letoile not guilty of sexually assaulting an 11-year-old girl. Prosecutors later dropped charges that Letoile sexually assaulted an 8-year-old girl.

Letoile is scheduled to go on trial on the child pornography charges next month.

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