Genarlow Wilson DA Guilty of Distributing Child Porn?


There are some misconceptions about the Genarlow Wilson case that have pervaded since it first caught the attention of the national medla.

It's true that in addition to the bogus charge related to his receiving oral sex form a 15-year-old, for which Wilson was convicted, Wilson was also charged and acquitted of rape in a second incident involving a 17-year-old girl. Both incidents were captured on videotape, which jurors viewed before reaching both verdicts.

I haven't seen the tape, so frankly, I don't know if Wilson is a criminal, or if at the time was merely your average, sexually-charged 17-year-old who had the good fortune of being a star athlete, able to find girls willing to service him. I do know, however, that Wilson's detractors in Georgia have awfully short memories if they don't think it's possible for a star athlete to be falsely accused of rape.

When the case started getting national attention, District Attorney David McDade—or someone in his office—apparently began circulating copies of the video to legislators and members of the media, in an effort to counter the mounting sense of outrage at Wilson's 10-year prison sentence. McDade told media outlets that the tape showed a "gang rape" on the charge for which Wilson was acquitted. That resulted in op-eds like this one , in which Georgia political officials tried to brush off the mounting criticism, by calling public attention to the second act (an act for which, once again, Wilson was acquitted of criminal wrongdoing).

U.S. Attorney David Nahmias now says that if anyone in McDade's office distributed copies of the tape to media or legislators, they may be guilty of distributing child pornography, something I'd been wondering about since first hearing people outside the case talking about the tape. Nahmias says the warning was more an effort to direct those who have copies of the tape to destroy it than an indication of any plans to indict anyone in McDade's office (though he didn't rule out an investigation). I'd think some professional organizations in the legal community might want to look into possible ethics violations here, too (for this and other odd behavior on the part of McDade).

But aside from professional discipline, I'd probably agree that criminal charges against McDade's office would be a reach.

It's too bad McDade didn't exercise similar discretion when he decided to prosecute Wilson in the first place.