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United States v. Matthews
United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
209 F.3d 338 (2000)
Lawrence Matthews (defendant), a famous broadcast journalist, worked as a freelance reporter and undertook an independent investigation into internet child pornography. In March 1996, after Matthews tried to create his own chat room, America OnLine, Inc., closed his account. From July to December 1996, Matthews engaged in explicit online chats with individuals who claimed to be minor females. A number of these individuals were undercover agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Matthews claimed to know about the undercover agents and stated that his investigation concerned the enforcement of child-pornography laws. The FBI discovered 160 images of child pornography that Matthews either received or sent. A federal grand jury indicted Matthews for multiple counts of transmission and receipt of child pornography over the internet. Matthews argued that the transmissions were made for a legitimate journalistic purpose and were necessary to allow him to penetrate and report on the online world of child pornography. Matthews was convicted, and he appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Motz, J.)
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