Thursday, 7 September 2023

Josh Hawley Grills Biden Judicial Nominee For Going Soft On Client Convicted In Child Porn Case

 Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) grilled public defender Richard Federico during a Wednesday hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, pressing him on a prior trial in which he’d asked for a light sentence in a child pornography case.

Biden nominated Federico, a U.S. Navy Reserve officer and federal public defender based in Kansas, to serve on Denver’s 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals — but Hawley had some questions about his record.


Hawley began by laying out the details of the case he was referring to, noting that the sentencing guidelines recommended up to 240 months — or 20 years — in prison. The recommended range, he said, was from 210 months to 240 — but Federico had asked for just 105 months.

“Now, the government in this case said that it was being very lenient,” Hawley added, noting that prosecutors had called for 189 months and suggesting that they could have started with a much higher number given the type of crime involved. The Missouri Senator opted not to go into detail about the nature of the case, saying that it was too reprehensible to discuss.

Federico pushed back, saying that he had prosecuted as many child pornography cases as he had defended and, therefore, understood what the victims were going through.


“So what would you say to the victims in this case, who — let’s just review — and I’m not going to read the specifics because it’s too revolting, but let me just — here — this is from the pre-sentence report,” Hawley continued.

“‘This particular defendant’ — this is sanitized, but it’s still unpleasant — ‘the defendant used multiple mediums to access, obtain, and distribute depictions of child rape, bondage, and sexual exploitation,'” Hawley read. “‘He used dating websites to meet people offering children for sex. He used email to send depictions of child sexual exploitation to his cohorts.'”

“Why 100 months?” Hawley asked. “I mean, listen, you could have recommended any number of — I get you wanted to defend your client, sure, but you could have chosen 175. You could have agreed with government, 189, which was characterized already below guidelines and quite lenient.”

Noting once again that Federico had recommended only 105 months — less than 10 years — Hawley asked, “Do you think that that’s a sentence that does justice to his victims?”

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