|Scott J. Wells|
How did federal prosecutors level child-pornography charges on Missouri resident Scott J. Wells, even though their own narrative shows it was physically impossible for him to commit the alleged offenses?
The charging documents the feds prepared are kind of important -- Wells has been unlawfully detained for more than two years, based on them. But does anyone in the Western District of Missouri bother to proof read their own filings? Does anyone bother to read them at all? The answer to both questions seems to be no. (The charging documents are embedded at the end of this post.)
The case against Scott Wells begins unraveling near the end of page 3, moving on to page 4, of the criminal complaint-affidavit in Case No. 6:17-cr03043-MDH, under the heading "Probable Cause." James D. Holdman Jr., a special agent (SA) with United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Springfield, MO, prepared the affidavit and writes as follows:
7. On March 8, 2017, Southwest Missouri Cyber Crimes Task Force (SMCCTF) Officer (TFO) Lee Walker reviewed two CyberTips, 16533142 and 16099575, from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). Both CyberTips were initiated by Facebook. . . . CyberTip 16099575 was received by NCMEC on December 21, 2016, and CyberTip 16533142 was received by NCMEC on January 15, 2017.
8. CyberTip 16533142 was initiated by Facebook, after a file, 9p6ov3uhu4048okk15645265_10210760647827988_2086195755_n.jpg., containing suspected child pornography had been uploaded from a Facebook account. The suspect file was uploaded from a Facebook account with a screen name of scott.wells.79 and user ID 11033732066. The account listed a verified email address of firstname.lastname@example.org. The suspect file was uploaded on December 15, 2016, at 15:18:55 hours UTC, using IP address 220.127.116.11. This affiant reviewed the image from CyberTip 16533142. The image depicts a minor, prepubescent female lying on what appears to be a bed with her pants pulled down, her legs spread and up in the air, exposing her vaginal and anal area. The minor female's hands are on her bottom.
9 CyberTip 16099575 was initiated by Facebook after a file, erhdoxdu14c8wk44015644194_10210760665228423_1722966896_n.jpg., containing suspected child pornography had been uploaded from a Facebook account and sent to another Facebook account. The suspect file was uploaded to and sent from scott.wells79's Facebook account. The suspect file was uploaded on December 15, 2016, at 15:18:55 UTC, using IP address 18.104.22.168. The suspect file was sent from scott.wells79's account to an account with a Facebook screen name of kara.adkins1007. This affiant reviewed the image from CyberTip 16099575. The image depicts a minor, prepubescent female laying on her stomach with no pants on, with her legs spread, exposing her vaginal and anal area.
First, we note that Nos. 7-9 deal with two issues: (1) No. 7 describes Facebook's actions in sending a "cyber tip" to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, which forwarded the tip to a law-enforcement task force in Southwest Missouri; (2) Nos. 7 and 8 describe actions Scott Wells allegedly took, sparking a search of his home and an arrest.
Second, we note the areas in Nos. 8 and 9, highlighted in yellow, where Holdman states multiple times that Wells "uploaded" suspect images from his own Facebook account -- the second time sending the image to another Facebook account. I don't claim to be an expert on computer terminology, but I'm pretty sure there is a difference between an "upload" and a "download." Here is how one Web site puts it:
Uploading is the process of putting web pages, images and files onto a web server. Downloading is the process of getting web pages, images and files from a web server.
To make a file visible to everyone on the internet, you will need to upload it. When users are copying this file to their computer, they are downloading it.
In other words, when an image originates with a user and is placed on the Web, it is uploaded. When an image already is on the Web and someone clicks on it, perhaps saving it, that is a download. Scott Wells has said he received a Facebook file from a woman in Tennessee (apparently Kara Adkins) and clicked on it without knowing what it was and without asking for it. When he saw the image, he thought it was the woman's daughter, that the mother essentially was enticing Facebook users with pornographic images of her own child. Wells has said he forwarded the image to the daughter in an effort to alert her about the mother's unlawful acts. Federal prosecutors now claim this act of alerting a victim amounts to distribution of child porn.
In No. 8, the affidavit states that Wells "uploaded" the first file on "December 15, 2016, at 15:18:55 hours UTC." In No. 9, the affidavit states that Wells "uploaded" the second file -- a different file, with a different file name -- on "December 15, 2016, at 15:18:55 hours UTC."
The feds have charged Scott Wells with "uploading" two separate suspect files -- and he did both at the exact same time, right down to the second. I took enough physics in high school to know that can't be done. David Copperfield couldn't do it, so Scott Wells -- who is almost legally blind in one eye and must use a walker from the effects of a benign brain tumor -- certainly couldn't do it.
That leaves this question: Will Brady Musgrave, Wells' third court-appointed attorney -- take the necessary steps to get the charges dismissed and his client freed from more than two years of wrongful incarceration? We intend to find out. Another question: How did U.S. prosecutor James Kelleher let the Wells case get so far without noticing that it alleges an offense that is physically impossible to commit. As a "minister of justice" under Missouri law, will Kelleher do the right thing and dismiss the case -- maybe even helping Scott Wells receive the compensation to which he is entitled, under federal law, for having two years of his life stolen.? Is Kelleher capable of doing the right thing? We intend to find out about that, too.
BTW, this is not the only ground upon which the Wells case -- as a matter of law -- must be dismissed. We will discuss another one in an upcoming post.
(To be continued)