Farnham sentencing won't be delayed for illness

  • Keith Farnham

    Keith Farnham

Updated 2/27/2015 5:40 AM

A federal judge will not delay sentencing former state Rep. Keith Farnham for child pornography, even though Farnham's attorney said his client is in hospice care for an illness that could soon take his life.

"Coming to court is going to be very difficult for him, potentially life-threatening," said Terry Ekl, Farnham's lawyer.


U.S. District Judge Edmond E. Chang on Thursday ordered the Elgin Democrat's sentencing take place on March 19 as scheduled, a spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney's office said, adding that a hearing on the motion scheduled for Friday has been canceled.

In a court filing, prosecutors say they accept Farnham's health problems are serious. But they say he's well enough to attend sentencing.

Prosecutors also argue child pornography victims deserved to see punishment imposed. They say one victim intended to speak at Farnham's sentencing.

Farnham, 67, pleaded guilty in December to transportation of child pornography. As part of his plea, he admitted possessing 2,765 images found on his computers of children engaged in sex acts. He has since registered as a sex offender.

Farnham's lawyers say he suffers from bladder cancer and pulmonary fibrosis. He remains on house arrest until sentencing and is receiving hospice care at his home, Ekl said.

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Prosecutors indicated at the December hearing they will seek a sentence between 12 and 15 years. However, the sentence ranges from a minimum of five to a maximum of 20 years in prison.

Ekl argued at that time that even the minimum could mean a death sentence for his client.

Farnham was charged with possession of child pornography on April 28, 2014, and released on $4,500 bail two days later. He was subsequently charged with receiving and transporting child pornography. His arrest followed a March 13, 2014, raid on his home and office by Department of Homeland Security agents who were investigating an email address -- later linked to Farnham -- that was being used to trade child pornography online.

Farnham resigned his House seat several days later. Along with confinement to home, he was prohibited from using a computer, accessing the Internet and having unsupervised contact with anyone under age 18.

• Daily Herald news services contributed to this report.

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