Court sets March trial for porn case

A March 19 trial date has been set for a Bradenton Beach man charged with having sex with a 15-year-old, possessing and promoting child pornography and attempted bribery of a witness.

Joseph Edmund Chiquet, who has pleaded not guilty to all charges, was arrested in 2009 after police learned Chiquet and a teenager had a sexual relationship, and that he took sexual photographs of her in his Bradenton Beach apartment.

In 2010, authorities added a bribery charge, accusing Chiquet of offering an ex-girlfriend $10,000 if she told police she was depicted in the photographs and not, as prosecutors allege, the 15-year-old girl.

A Dec. 19 court order requires the state to disclose phone records — from both cell and office phones — of an assistant state attorney previously assigned to the case.

A written court order is expected to specify when the state’s release of records to the defense is due, according to assistant state attorney Chris Nigro, now assigned to the case.

The phone records to be released include conversations between the defendant’s ex-girlfriend, the state attorney’s office and former assistant state attorney Tony Casoria.

The defense has sought these records because the ex-girlfriend “at some point in time started tape-recording Mr. Chiquet’s phone calls with her,” and calling police and Casoria. According to the defendant’s attorney, Mark Lipinski of Bradenton, these recordings were made without court order or police authorization, and were illegal.

Prior court rulings led to two appeals in this case. The first appeal, including a denial of defendant’s motion to suppress certain evidence obtained in police searches, was lost by the defense. The second appeal regarding the phone records was lost by the state.

With respect to the searches, Bradenton Beach police seized pornographic pictures obtained from a Dell computer found after a search warrant was issued for Chiquet’s home. On a second warrant issued to search Chiquet’s vehicle, police seized an Apple computer and found additional pornographic material pertaining to the 15-year-old victim.

Judge Thomas Krug is newly assigned to this case, and is expected to hear the trial. Lipinski said he was uncertain whether the trial would proceed in March.

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