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What you need to know for 08/23/2017

Child porn case against blogger moved to federal court

Child porn case against blogger moved to federal court

Saratoga County blogger John Tighe was initially charged in February in Saratoga County Court with t

As state police investigators searched the home of controversial Saratoga County blogger John Tighe as part of a computer trespass investigation last fall, an apparently worried Tighe asked investigators a question.

The search specifically concerned accusations Tighe might have been involved in the unauthorized access of computer information from computers owned by the local group NXIVM. But Tighe appeared more concerned about other things investigators might find, according to newly released court documents.

“Can I get in trouble for anything else on those computers other than NXIVM?” Tighe allegedly asked one of the investigators.

The investigator responded that he could, depending on the criminality of the material. That material, federal prosecutors now say, was more than 400 video files containing suspected child pornography.

Tighe was initially charged in February in Saratoga County Court with three felony counts of possessing a sexual performance by a child. The case moved to U.S. District Court in Albany this week with the filing of a federal complaint of possession of child pornography.

Tighe also now faces charges related to the initial investigation, the alleged trespass onto computers owned by NXIVM, Tighe’s attorney, Terence Kindlon, and court officials said Tuesday. However, Kindlon conceded the computer trespass accusations are much less serious in comparison; if convicted of the federal child pornography possession count, Tighe could face up to 20 years in prison.

“Obviously it is a gravely serious charge,” Kindlon said.

Tighe, 57, of Milton, appeared Monday before Magistrate Christian F. Hummel in U.S. District Court on the new charge. Hummel allowed Tighe to remain free on an unsecured $25,000 bond, though the judge also placed severe restrictions on his movement, Kindlon said. Tighe is confined to his home and must wear a position-monitoring ankle bracelet.

Another restriction on his release was that Tighe had to turn in any device that allows access to the Internet. That provision won’t impact his blog because that was already shuttered last fall after the initial raid.

Tighe wrote a controversial blog, “Saratoga in Decline.” He told readers it would remain closed until further notice, but a visit to the blog address Tuesday was met with a message that the blog had been removed.

Critics of Tighe’s blog considered him a pariah spewing a vitriolic and not-always-accurate account of news unfolding in the region; others viewed him as a valuable news source who picked up the slack left by the professional media.

A previous version of this story incorrectly identified Tighe's age. He is 57.

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