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Amos Yee remanded in US on child porn and grooming charges as special prosecutor, lawyer negotiate resolution

Amos Yee remanded in US on child porn and grooming charges as special prosecutor, lawyer negotiate resolution

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

SINGAPORE: A resolution is being negotiated between a special prosecutor and a lawyer for Singaporean Amos Yee, who has been remanded by a court in the United States.

Yee appeared via Zoom before a Chicago court early Thursday morning (Oct 21), Singapore time, for a short hearing. The 22-year-old faces 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 the case was being prosecuted by a special prosecutor, who was not available for the hearing.

“He and I are negotiating a resolution for this case,” she said, adding that she would call Yee after hearing from the prosecutor about the negotiations. 

According to the Legal Information Institute, a special prosecutor is one who is independent of an office that would normally exercise jurisdiction in a criminal investigation.

This is to avoid potential conflicts of interest or to facilitate subject matter area expertise. They are sometimes called to prosecute high profile cases.

Yee, who has been in remand for about a year, is set to come before the court again next month.

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

He was arrested by US Marshals in Oct last year at his apartment in Chicago’s Norwood Park East neighbourhood.

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 previously heard.

If found guilty, Yee could lose his asylum status and be deported back to Singapore.

This was 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.

 

Source: CNA/mi

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