Farnham gets home confinement in child porn case
Former state Rep. Keith Farnham was released on $4,500 bond Wednesday and ordered confined to his Elgin home following his first federal court appearance on charges of possessing child pornography.
Farnham, 66, saying he needs a lung transplant and using a portable oxygen supply, will be allowed to leave his home for doctor visits, counseling sessions and meetings with his lawyer, U.S. District Judge Jeffrey T. Gilbert said.
Farnham may not use a computer or access the Internet and he may not have unsupervised contact with anyone younger than 18, Gilbert ordered.
Gilbert also assigned Farnham's wife as third-party custodian, requiring her to report to the court if Farnham fails to meet his conditions of bond. She was not in court Wednesday, but is scheduled to appear on Farnham's next court date, May 7.
Dressed in a sport coat and wearing a blue checked shirt, the white haired Farnham sat alone in the first row of the courtroom at the Dirksen Federal Courthouse waiting for the hearing to begin.
Farnham had presented himself to the court voluntarily, federal prosecutors said.
He did not enter a plea to the charges that he traded pornographic material online from his home and from his former legislative office in Elgin.
Farnham remained after the hearing to be fitted with an electronic monitoring device, then spoke to a crowd of reporters as he left the courthouse.
Asked what he would tell former constituents about the charges, Farnham deferred to defense attorney Terry Ekl for specifics, but said, "I love the people that sent me to Springfield. They've been very good to me."
Farnham said he is being treated for hepatitis C, has bladder cancer that is in remission and needs a lung transplant because of pulmonary fibrosis, a lung disease. Without a transplant, "I have a very limited future," he told reporters.
On March 13, federal agents seized electronic storage devices and several computers, including one marked "property of the state of Illinois House of Representatives" that contained images of child pornography, including two videos, according to the criminal complaint.
Farnham, a Democrat, resigned his General Assembly seat on March 19 citing health issues. Until that day, he'd had perfect attendance at legislative sessions this year and had been running for re-election.
Elgin City Council member Anna Moeller was appointed to serve the remainder of his term and is expected to run in November.
Ekl acknowledged the seriousness of the allegations included in unsettling detail in the government's complaint and the impact they have had on his client.
"He's having a very difficult time," Ekl said.
Ekl declined to discuss strategy or speculate how the case may play out. If convicted, Farnham faces a possible maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.