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State

Feds look for child porn on lawmaker’s computers

SPRINGFIELD – Federal agents were searching for child pornography when they seized computers from former state Rep. Keith Farnham’s home and offices this month, according to a search warrant released to The Associated Press on Saturday.

The search warrant released by the Illinois House shows authorities were seeking any evidence of the “possession, receipt, or distribution of child pornography” and documents “in any format and medium concerning minors visually depicted while engaged in sexually explicit conduct” from computers in Farnham’s Elgin home and office as well as his Springfield office.

They also sought other computer equipment and cellphones, information about anyone contacted through the computers, passwords, accounts with any Internet companies, indications of file-sharing technology and software designed to eliminate data.

Farnham, a Democrat first elected in 2008, resigned last Wednesday but said he had to attend to “battling serious health issues.” He did not mention what the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the U.S. attorney’s office describe as “an ongoing investigation.”

Farnham did not return messages left on his home and cellphones Saturday. Randall Samborn, spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office in Chicago, said no charges have been filed but would not comment further.

The search warrant and accompanying documents were first released to the Chicago Tribune Friday in response to a request under the Freedom of Information Act.

ICE agents searched Farnham’s home and Elgin office March 13. According to the documents, computers were seized a day later in his office in the Stratton Office Building next to the state Capitol in Springfield.

On Thursday, federal agents took control of the computer Farnham used on the House floor, according to Tim Rice, executive director of the Legislative Information System, which provides electronic equipment to lawmakers. Rice said the computers are publicly owned and users have no expectation of privacy in using them. He said agents did not indicate what they were looking for.

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Contact John O’Connor at https://twitter.com/apoconnor .

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