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Amos Yee, facing child porn and grooming charges, given time by US court to 'talk to loved ones' about prosecution offer

Amos Yee, facing child porn and grooming charges, given time by US court to 'talk to loved ones' about prosecution offer

Singaporean Amos Yee has been charged with child pornography and grooming offences in the US. (Photo: Cook County Sheriff's Office)

SINGAPORE: Singaporean Amos Yee has been given time by a United States court to discuss with "his loved ones" a special prosecutor's offer. 

His case was heard in a Chicago court early Saturday (Nov 13) morning, Singapore time. Yee is facing 18 charges, including grooming, indecently soliciting a child and possession of child pornography. 

The public defender - a lawyer employed by the state in a criminal trial to represent a defendant who is unable to afford legal assistance - told the court that Yee is asking for additional time to "talk to loved ones" about the offer from the special prosecutor.

The special prosecutor has "graciously agreed" to hold the offer open for a month, the defence lawyer said, without giving details of the offer.

According to the US Department of Justice, a defendant may be offered a plea deal to avoid trial and "perhaps reduce his exposure to a more lengthy sentence".

The judge agreed to give the 23-year-old time to discuss the matter and he is set to return to court next month.

Yee was granted asylum in the United States more than four years ago. 

He was arrested by US Marshals on Oct 14 last year at his apartment in Chicago’s Norwood Park East neighbourhood, the court previously heard.

He is accused of exchanging nude photos with a 14-year-old girl via WhatsApp. The alleged incidents took place in 2019 between Feb 1 and Jun 30, and involved thousands of texts.

When their relationship soured, the girl contacted a group of people “interested in exposing paedophiles”, the court was told previously.

Yee has been in remand since his arrest, with a US$1 million bond. If found guilty, Yee could lose his asylum status and be deported back to Singapore.

This is not Yee’s first brush with the law.

In 2015, Yee was jailed in Singapore for wounding religious feelings by making remarks about Christians. About a year later, Yee was jailed again and fined on a similar charge, this time for making remarks about Christians and Muslims.

In 2017, Yee was granted asylum in the US by a US immigration court, despite opposition from the Department of Homeland Security.

Source: CNA/mi(ac)
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