Judge denies request to preserve phone of Sauer accuser
A Lake County judge denied a request to preserve the phone of a woman who accused a former state lawmaker of posting nude images of her on the internet without her consent.
However, Judge Patricia Fix told attorneys for Nick Sauer they could file a new motion in writing and file a subpoena to preserve the phone they are seeking to review. But, Fix added, the owner of the phone should be allowed to come to court and have her say on whether she should give the phone to defense attorneys.
"The phone is owned by a private citizen, and she should be allowed to voice her opinion," Fix told defense attorney Steven Landis in court Thursday.
Sauer, 36, of Lake Barrington, has pleaded not guilty to a dozen charges of nonconsensual dissemination of private sexual images stemming from allegations by two women.
If found guilty, he could be sentenced to up to three years in prison or probation, authorities said.
Sauer resigned from his state House District 51 seat last summer after a former girlfriend accused him of posting nude photos of her on Instagram without her consent. The unidentified woman said Sauer created an Instagram account using her name and placed the images there to lure men into graphic discussions.
After the allegations surfaced, Melissa Kreithen came forward as second accuser. Authorities said they found pictures of Kreithen she had sent to Sauer on a fake Instagram account.
Defense attorneys previously said in court documents they wanted to review the phone of the first accuser but Assistant Lake County State's Attorney Fred Day said information defense attorneys were seeking was downloaded Aug. 7 and turned over to them. After the download, the phone was returned to the woman, Day said.
Landis said he has not had the time or experts available to review the voluminous amount of cellphone data, which is why he wanted to ensure the phone was preserved going forward.
Landis mentioned they wanted to investigate the first accuser's phone but did not previously make mention of reviewing Kreithen's phone. However, Landis said he could seek to preserve and investigate both phones in a future hearing.
Sauer, a Republican, was elected to the state House in 2016. He previously served on the Lake County Board and the Barrington Unit District 220 school board.
As part of his release on bond, Sauer is barred from using social media and cannot contact either accuser.