But authorities have given up trying to make
The ongoing effort was being vigorously resisted by Feldman, his lawyer and digital privacy advocates who argued it would violate Feldman's Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. The legal dispute has been closely followed by digital privacy advocates, law enforcement and defense lawyers.
The decision to drop the forced decryption action came after a judge denied a prosecutor's request to postpone her deadline for briefing the Fifth Amendment issue. The government had sought to have a judge order Feldman to either make the hard drives readable or be jailed for contempt.
Decryption may not matter anymore anyway. At the same time prosecutors were requesting the briefing delay, they were charging Feldman, 46, in a criminal complaint. It stated that after months of work,
Last week, a federal grand jury indicted Feldman on six counts of child pornography, based on videos found on his digital storage devices that show pre-teen children being sexually assaulted and engaged in bondage and bestiality. It also seeks forfeiture of a computer and 15 external hard drives recovered from Feldman's
Unlike in many child porn cases, Feldman made no statements to agents who served the January search warrant and has not even acknowledged owning the seized equipment. On Monday, he entered not-guilty pleas to all six counts in the indictment.
While on release, he will subject to electronic monitoring and other conditions.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Karine Moreno-Taxman had argued that Feldman should be held without bail as a flight risk and a danger to the community.
A federal magistrate judge initially declined to order Feldman to decrypt his drives, then changed his ruling. But a district judge then suspended the order and scheduled the briefing on the Fifth Amendment issue.
(c)2013 the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Visit the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel at www.jsonline.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services