Judge Bars Media From Motions Hearing in Child Porn Case

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A circuit court judge on Monday barred media from a hearing for a former city worker accused of having child pornography on his work computer.

Judge Dale English asked a journalist from The Reporter of Fond du Lac – the only media member in attendance – to leave the hearing of Benjamin Mercer, 56, of Fond du Lac.

The hearing involved a motion to exclude certain evidence from the trial. Because that evidence could be discussed at the hearing, English said he wanted to limit media coverage that could taint potential jurors.

The Reporter has been covering the case since the allegations surfaced in 2005.

Mercer, a former human-resources director for the City of Fond du Lac, is charged with 34 counts of possession of child pornography. A jury trial is scheduled to begin May 11 and is expected to last six days.

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