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BREAKING NEWS

Attorney picked for porn case

By Staff | Jun 14, 2010

Tjay Harpestad

An attorney has been appointed for a 33-year-old Wells man charged with child pornography.

Tjay Gene Harpestad made his first court appearance in Faribault County District Court on Monday.

Defense attorney Bill Grogin will represent Harpestad, who faces four felony charges of possessing pornographic work on a computer disk, computer or other electronic, magnetic or optical storage system.

Judge Douglas Richards asked the defendant if he had seen the court complaint filed against him and understood the charges.

Each charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

The judge informed Harpestad of his right to a trial, call or subpoena witnesses and other legal rights.

County Attorney Brian Roverud turned over discovery material that included police reports, computer data material and search warrant information.

Both attorneys were in agreement of not holding the omnibus hearing within 14 days of Harpestad’s initial court appearance.

“May I suggest we extend that out due to the volume of the material,” Roverud told Richards.

Harpestad told Richards he would waive the time requirement for his omnibus hearing.

Harpestad was released on his promise that he appear for all future court hearings.

He also was ordered to not possess any pornographic materials, remain in contact with his attorney and report any change in address to the court.

According to county authorities, Harpestad was working in Albert Lea when he was arrested in October 2008, but was released after being held 48 hours.

A court complaint says the investigation began when the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension received three tips regarding child pornography being uploaded from a known email and IP address belonging to a Microsoft user.

Court documents say an administrative subpoena was obtained and served on Blue Earth Valley Communications.

Authorities were able to trace and identify the IP address to a rural address Harpestad reportedly has lived at since August 2002.

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, says the complaint, claims a total of 52 images had been uploaded on the defendant’s computer.

Faribault County officials obtained and executed a search warrant at Harpestad’s home on Oct. 28, 2008.

Court papers say computers seized contained pornographic images of minors. Four of the images were of prepubescent naked girls and two of the images were known child victims.