Former Assemblyman Pleads Not Guilty In Child Porn Case

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TRENTON – Former state Assemblyman Neil Cohen told prosecutors that he viewed images of child pornography on the computer in is legislative office, but pleaded not guilty to the charges against him Tuesday.

Cohen is charged with official misconduct and two child pornography counts. If he is convicted on all charges, the 58-year-old Cohen could face a 30-year prison sentence.

Defense attorney Mark Tuohey of Washington, D.C., told Superior Court Judge Gerald Council that the prosecution “overcharged” Cohen.

Deputy Attorney General Anthony Picione told Council that the state had offered Cohen a plea deal that would have required him to serve five to seven years in prison, forfeit of his state pension and register as a sex offender. Tuohey said he rejected that offer “for obvious reasons,” but did not elaborate.

The former Union County Democratic leader was arraigned three months after being indicted on charges of possessing child pornography. Cohen resigned from office in July after coming under investigation. A staff member at Cohen’s Union Township legislative office found a computer printout of a nude girl and alerted his two office partners, state Sen. Raymond Lesniak and Assemblyman Joseph Cryan.


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