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Alleged Biden threat spoofer drops plea deal

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The tech-savvy man accused of emailing threats to US Vice President Joe Biden, spoofed from his neighbour's account, has upped the stakes of the legal ordeal he faces.

Alleged Minneapolis nuisance neighbour Barry Ardolf has ditched his deal to plead guilty and wants to go to trial. This will mean he's likely to face charges of distributing indecent images of children, but will get the opportunity to submit a defence.

The plea agreement called for Ardolf posing as his neighbour and threatening Biden. But in the affidavits filed in court by FBI Special Agent Robert Cameron, Ardolf is alleged to have sent child pornography to his neighbour's work colleagues, and posted more images on a MySpace page set up in his neighbour's name.

Ardolf's lawyer Seamus Mahoney, appointed Friday after Ardolf sacked his original legal team, says his client doesn't want to go to jail for something he didn't do. Mahoney concedes Ardolf is likely to face child porn charges.

Laying the ground for a defence, Mahoney told District Judge Donovan Frank in a hearing in federal court yesterday that a 15-year-old child could hack into Wi-Fi and spoof email as Ardolf is alleged to have done.

Ardolf is a 45-year-old widower with three teenage children. He's a technician for medical technology business Medtronic.

At the end of the hearing, Judge Frank ordered that all computers and electronic devices that can access the internet be removed from Ardolf's home. His movements are to be monitored by a GPS device. He cannot make contact with his neighbour or witnesses. Judge Frank said: "No glares, no stares, no walk-bys, no drive-bys." ®

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