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United States v. Eqal

United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Central Division, Lexington

July 26, 2018

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
EASA S. EQAL, Defendant.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          KAREN K. CALDWELL, CHIEF JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

         This matter is before the Court on a motion (DE 65) by defendant Easa Eqal to exclude all evidence of certain other wrongs or acts committed by him and also to exclude any statements from or references to his interview with law enforcement officers.

         Eqal is charged with one count of receiving child pornography in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2252(a)(2) and one count of possessing child pornography in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2252(a)(4)(B).

         With this motion, Eqal asks the Court to exclude evidence of other acts by him under Federal Rule of Evidence 404(b). That rule provides that the government may not introduce evidence of other acts by a defendant to prove the person acted in accordance with his character on a particular occasion. Fed.R.Evid. 404(b)(1). Such evidence is, however, admissible for other purposes such as proving intent, knowledge or absence of mistake. Fed.R.Evid. 404(b)(2).

         The evidence at issue consists of evidence that Eqal stole underwear from luggage while working as a baggage handler at Bluegrass Airport. Eqal argues this evidence is unrelated to the crime at issue and will confuse or inflame the jury. Eqal also moves to exclude evidence that he had sexual interactions with underage individuals in chat rooms and/or in person. He argues these allegations are unrelated to the crimes he is charged with and ignores that he was also underage at the time. Thus, they have no probative value.

         The United States asserts that it will not introduce the evidence at issue unless Eqal is permitted to introduce evidence of his diagnosis with Autism Spectrum Disorder as a defense to the charges. At a pretrial conference on April 16, 2018, the Court ruled that it would not permit the defense to introduce evidence of Eqal's autism diagnosis at trial because such evidence is irrelevant to the elements of the crimes he is charged with committing.

         For count 1 of the indictment - the "receiving charge"- the government must prove:

First: That the defendant knowingly received a visual depiction as alleged in the indictment.
Second: That the production of the visual depiction involved the use of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct.
Third: That the visual depiction was of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct.
Fourth: That the defendant knew that the visual depiction was of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct.
Fifth: That the visual depiction was received using any means of interstate or foreign commerce or contained materials that had been mailed or shipped or transported in interstate or foreign commerce by any means including computer.

Sixth Circuit Pattern Jury Instruction No. 16.05.

         For count 2 of the indictment - the possession count - the ...


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