LOS ANGELES (AP) — A former Los Angeles official who once blamed a spinal tumor for his obsession with child pornography was sentenced to seven years in federal prison Monday to be followed by a lifetime of supervision.
Sixty-four-year-old Albert Abrams, white haired and balding, addressed a judge at a hearing attended by his family and friends.
"I'm truly sorry for these crimes that I committed," said Abrams. "I never intended to harm anyone and I apologize to those that I harmed."
He admitted he collected child pornography and distributed sexually explicit images. His lawyer said materials seized from his home covered almost 20 years during which he hid his activities from family members including his wife of 38 years.
"There's no question that he knew what he was doing was wrong," said defense attorney Marilyn Bednarski.
"Now he has lost everything," she said. "He's lost his reputation, his business. He's close to losing his home and now he is going to lose his freedom."
She urged a term of five years, the minimum under a plea agreement reached with the government. Prosecutors sought the maximum which would have been eight years but U.S. District Judge Gary Klausner settled on seven years.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Lana Morton-Owens said, "This is a defendant who disseminated thousands of pictures."
She said there was no mitigation for the lies Abrams told including the claim of a tumor and split personality.
In addition to prison, Klausner ordered that Abrams remain on supervised probation for the rest of his life. He also imposed a $5,000 fine.
Under federal guidelines, he is likely to serve 80 percent of the sentence.
Abrams, who ultimately dropped the tumor defense and blamed a back problem, pleaded guilty in September to one count of distributing child pornography.
In court documents, prosecutors said Abrams told a television station that a tumor made his alternate personality download child pornography. He later claimed the growth was a cyst and now says an unidentified back problem was responsible.
"These are not the actions of someone who has taken responsibility for his criminal conduct, but instead, demonstrates that the defendant continues to deny that he and he alone is responsible for the pain he caused his victims," Morton-Owens wrote in court documents.
Bednarski said doctors did remove a growth from her client's spinal column and he was recovering from a serious back surgery when FBI agents searched his home in July 2011.
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