Editor’s Note: Child pornography charges were eventually dismissed.
BRECKENRIDGE - Dennis Flint, the former High Country Health Care CEO charged with possessing child porn, moved a step closer to a trial Monday.
In Monday's hearing, the prosecution had to show there was probable cause to take the case to trial. District Court Judge Terry Ruckriegle ultimately decided there was.
"The issue is whether or not we should even be here ... With this case being appealed ... this court doesn't have jurisdiction to preside over this hearing," said Flint's attorney Timothy Bussey, who previously had requested permission to withdraw from the case.
"The court believes it does have jurisdiction ... There is no stay of this criminal proceeding," said Ruckriegle.
An FBI agent testified Monday in graphic detail about the pornographic images allegedly found on Flint's computer in July 2006. The images were captured as screen shots by a spyware program installed by Flint's wife. According to the FBI agent, the images included children engaged in sexual conduct with adults.
The agent also said the spyware showed there was a deliberate search made for the images, shown by captured screen shots of the search terms that were entered. Afterward, there was an attempt to delete the images and other electronic records from the computer - evidence, according to the prosecution, that the pornographic images were knowingly acquired.
The spyware captures a screen shot every two seconds, establishing a record of the activity on the computer.
But the defense argued that the spyware doesn't show who was at the controls of the computer.
As he cross-examined the FBI agent, Bussey seemed to suggest that Flint may not have been the user of the computer. He tried to cast doubt on the agent's statements by describing how Flint's wife previously said she installed the spyware because she was concerned about their son accessing pornography on the computer.
The FBI agent acknowledged that the spyware doesn't show who is controlling the computer, but said the record showed Flint had used the computer to send e-mail on the same day, albeit not at the same time the pornographic images were viewed.
Trying to establish there is not probable cause, Bussey suggested the computer could have been used by someone else, or potentially even moved to a different location.
Attorneys for the prosecution argued there was no evidence to show anyone else might have accessed the computer during that time.
"As to the question of whether Mr. Flint was behind the computer ... the evidence shows he was the only one home while she (Flint's wife) and the two children were out of town," said deputy district attorney Anne Francis. There was also nothing to show that the computer was moved from Flint's home and used anywhere else, she added.
Ruckriegle ruled in favor of the prosecution, moving the case forward by setting a Dec. 28 date for a motions hearing.
"The court does find there is probable cause ... that Mr. Flint may have committed the crimes alleged. There is probable cause albeit through the testimony of Mrs, Flint, who may have some bias or prejudice in this case ... (But) it is not an issue for the court to determine at this juncture ... whether her testimony is credible or not," Ruckriegle concluded.
Flint's attorneys had requested the preliminary hearing in May, but were originally denied by Fifth District Judge Rachel Olquin-Fresquez.