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Ex-Dem consultant’s child porn case delayed

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A former Democratic political consultant under investigation by federal law enforcement agents for hacking the governor’s email made his initial appearance in Albuquerque federal court Tuesday on charges of receiving child pornography.

Jason Loera, 44, of Albuquerque, was arrested May 31 in California on a warrant from U.S. District Court in New Mexico charging him with receiving images of child pornography. He was released on $20,000 bail to Pretrial Services for placement in a residential treatment facility, according to court documents.

He appeared Tuesday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Alan Torgerson to hear potential penalties against him as outlined by Assistant U.S. Attorney John Anderson. Loera faces from five to 20 years on two counts of receipt of visual depiction of a minor engaged in sexual activity, and up to 10 years on a third count, possession of the same material.

Torgerson agreed to continue the same conditions of release and said he would postpone formal arraignment – at which Loera is expected to enter a not-guilty plea – until Loera’s attorney, David Serna, is free of his current obligations.

“As you know, he’s busy at the moment,” Torgerson said of Serna, who is defending former Albuquerque Police Department officer Levi Chavez on charges he murdered his wife and staged the scene to look like a suicide.

FBI agents had executed a search warrant in September 2012 for computers related to the Susana2010.com domain at Loera’s home on St. Joseph’s Court NW. Hundreds of emails were believed to have been illegally intercepted.

The agents found a CD showing images of male children between 6 and 12 engaging in sexual activity and another with images of a nude girl between 6 and 10 performing a sexual act, among other items. That led them to obtain a second warrant to search the storage areas of electronic media already in the FBI’s possession.

No charges have been filed against Loera in connection with the email investigation.

His arrest on the child pornography charges came after Republican Party insider Jamie Estrada was indicted on charges that he hijacked a Martinez campaign website and intercepted hundreds of emails in 2011 and 2012 by directing the emails to a website Estrada controlled.

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