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A Birmingham attorney who once served as staff counsel for Gov. Kay Ivey's office pled guilty Tuesday to possession of child pornography.

According to United States Attorney Prim F. Escalona and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Chase Tristian Espy reached a plea agreement regarding events that took place between March 2021 and August 2021.

The plea agreement stated Espy had chatted online with undercover law enforcement officers, believing them to be a 15-year-old girl. That sparked an investigation, which later led to Espy’s arrest. He was let go from his position as deputy general counsel at the governor’s office.

After obtaining a warrant to search his phone, investigators found 69 videos and four images of child sexual abuse material, a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office Northern District of Alabama reported.

“The hard work of the agents involved in this case reflects how local, state and federal law enforcement are committed to protecting children from predators,” Escalona said. “Possessing child pornography is not a ‘victimless’ crime. Each time images of the innocent are shared or viewed, the child is re-victimized.”

U.S. District Judge Annemarie Carney Axon set Espy’s sentencing for Jan. 24, 2023, at 9 a.m.

The U.S. Attorney’s office is expected to seek the maximum penalty for Espy, which could be up to 20 years in prison, according to the release.

“The FBI is committed to protecting our children from sexual abuse and exploitation, and we will continue to work with our partners to bring to justice those who would prey on our most vulnerable,” Rivera said. “I want to thank the members of the FBI Birmingham Child Exploitation & Human Trafficking Task Force and our partners for their outstanding work in this case.”

To connect with the author of this story, or to comment, email daniel.taylor@1819news.com.

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