New Kensington man faces up to 50 years in prison for child pornography
A Westmoreland County jury deliberated just 10 minutes Wednesday afternoon before finding a New Kensington man guilty of 40 felony counts in connection with the possession of more than 20,000 images of child pornography.
Joshua Pottle, 37, acted as his own lawyer during the three-day trial in which he told jurors he was the victim of a “cover up” as he disputed the prosecution’s contention that two computers found in his home during a 2015 search contained stored photographs and video of children performing sex acts.
Pottle did not testify during the trial and offered no witnesses in his defense.
Deputy Attorney General Chuck Washburn said, as a result of the guilty verdict, Pottle faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 25 to 50 years in prison when he is sentenced in about three months by Westmoreland County Common Pleas Court Judge Rita Hathaway.
“We will at least ask for the mandatory sentence and possibly more,” Washburn said.
Pottle rejected a plea bargain offer before the trial in which he would have received a prison sentence of 12 1/2 to 25 years behind bars.
He said Wednesday he will appeal the jury’s verdict.
That verdict included guilty findings on 34 counts of possession of child pornography, five charges of distribution of the same material and one offense for the criminal use of a communication device.
Investigators testified they identified Pottle as a suspect during a statewide investigation of a child pornography computer file-sharing network.
Special Agent Tim Haney from the state’s Attorney General’s Office said 34 child victims were identified among 106 sample items of suspected pornography pulled from Pottle’s computers.
“There were series of victims that are traded like baseball cards among child pornographers,” Haney testified.
Prosecutors argued that Pottle’s crimes were egregious.
“To say this is a victimless crime could not be further from the truth. Children were being graphically abused because people like this defendant exist,” said Deputy Attorney General Jessel A. Costa III.