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German Pirate Party MP charged in child porn case

Immunity lifted

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A German MP who recently quit the Social Democrats for the Pirate Party has been charged with possession and distribution of child pornography.

Prosecutors in Karlsruhe said Joerg Tauss is suspected of acquiring child porn in over 100 cases between May 2007 and January of this year, and saving it to his cell phone. They also claim he forwarded the images to other people in six cases and that more material was found at his home.

Tauss admits to possessing the images, but insists he was merely conducting legitimate research aimed at breaking up a child pornography ring in his capacity as a lawmaker. Prosecutors responded in a statement that they found "no objective evidence for the veracity of these claims."

The investigation was carried out earlier this year after evidence was found in Tauss' office. But prosecutors were unable to press charges until parliament voted to repeal Tauss' parliamentary immunity, which happened Tuesday.

Tauss quit the Social Democrats after the scandal broke, in protest of the party's approval of laws to block websites carrying child pornography. He said in a statement that the legislation wouldn't combat child porn so much as it would "set up a technical infrastructure of censorship." He later switched party affiliation to become Germany's only MP for the Pirate Party, which demands free rein for computer users to swap copyrighted content.

Tauss has indicated he will not seek re-election in Germany's parliamentary elections on September 27. ®

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