Westport teen accused of downloading child porn could see charges dropped because of warrant errors

Exterior, Stamford Courthouse, Sept. 20, 2019.

Exterior, Stamford Courthouse, Sept. 20, 2019.

Ned Gerard / Hearst Connecticut Media

STAMFORD — A Westport teenager accused of downloading child pornography could have the charges eventually dropped because of what the state called “potentially serious defects” with the arrest warrants.

On Monday, Judge Gary White accepted an application for accelerated rehabilitation for 19-year-old Sam Gold, who was facing charges of second-degree possession of child pornography, tampering with evidence, interfering with a search and interfering with an officer.

Assistant State’s Attorney Daniel Cummings said that the state “normally…would not entertain an AR application given the facts of the case,” however Gold’s attorney, Edward Gavin, raised some “potentially serious defects” with the Westport police’s search and arrest warrants, he said.

Gavin said Monday that police inaccurately stated the number of images that his client had allegedly downloaded to his computer in both warrants.

Given the information, Cummings said the state would not object to the program being granted and that the diversionary program was “the second-best outcome” given the apparently inaccurate information contained in the warrants.

Lt. Dave Wolf, a spokesperson for Westport police, said the department had no comment on Gavin’s allegations.

“We understand that the Assistant State’s Attorneys have broad discretion in terms of how they prosecute the cases that a police department brings to them,” Wolf said Monday in regard to Gold being granted the diversionary program.

Westport police said at the time of Gold’s arrest that investigators were alerted that a town resident was possibly downloading child pornography onto his computer on April 4, 2020.

The sergeant overseeing the investigation tracked down the IP address of the computer, which came back to a Westport home, police said. Investigators obtained a search warrant to examine the computers and electronic devices at the address.

“During the execution of the search warrant, one of the residents, Sam Gold, allegedly tampered with some of the devices that the investigating detectives were attempting to inspect,” police said.

Investigators found suspected images of child pornography that Gold allegedly downloaded, police said.

Under the accelerated rehabilitation program, Gold will not admit guilt in the case but would be placed on two years of probation instead.

If he does not commit any crimes during that probation, and abides by other special conditions imposed on him, the charges against him will be dropped. Gold also will not be allowed to have unsupervised contact with anyone younger than 16 years old.

Gold will remain on probation until June 26, 2023, when his next court date is scheduled.