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Former Alabama prosecutor arrested on enticement, child porn charges

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • Authorities say Steven Giardini thought he was communicating with a 15-year-old girl
  • But, they say, he was really communicating with the FBI
  • NEW: Giardini resigned as a prosecutor after his home was searched last year
  • Alabama
  • Pornography

Get more details about this story from CNN affiliate WALA

(CNN) -- A former Alabama assistant district attorney who specialized in prosecuting sex crimes against minors is accused of enticing what he thought was a teenage girl online for sexual purposes, authorities said.

Steven Giardini was indicted on charges of enticement and solicitation crimes over the computer with the intent to produce child pornography, the Alabama Attorney General's Office said in a statement. Giardini, a former prosecutor in Mobile County, was arrested Tuesday.

The charges stem from the suspect's alleged communication with what he thought was a 15-year-girl, Alabama Attorney General Troy King said in a statement Tuesday. But instead he was communicating with an agent from the FBI's Internet Crimes Against Children division.

The Attorney General's Family Protection Unit presented evidence to a Mobile County, Alabama, grand jury August 13, which handed up the indictment.

"The crimes alleged in this indictment are all the more horrifying in that the defendant was a prosecutor entrusted to protect citizens from evil and criminal wrongdoing," King said. "The people of Alabama should be reassured, however, that no one is above the law, and that those who seek to harm and exploit our children will be punished, whoever they are."

Giardini is charged with one count of acting with the intent to entice a child under the age of 16 for intercourse, sodomy or sexual purposes; one count of acting with the intent to criminally solicit the production of child pornography; and one count of acting with the intent to entice a child for sexual purposes by means of computer, telephone, personal digital assistant, or other electronic means of communication or information storage.

All three charges are felonies. The first is punishable upon conviction by a prison sentence of one to 10 years, with the last two punishable by a two-to-20-year sentence, according to the attorney general's office.

Giardini resigned from the district attorney's office in April 2009 after FBI agents searched his Mobile home, CNN affiliate WALA-TV reported. It is not known what they were looking for, the station reported; the search warrant was sealed by a federal judge.

Giardini's attorney, Dennis Knizley, noted it has been 16 months since that search, WALA said. "And of course, his life has been on hold since then," Knizley told the station. "The facts of the case will turn out to be interesting and (we will) address those when we go to trial."

Knizley denied that Giardini was trying to manufacture child pornography.

Giardini was booked into the Mobile County Metro Jail and released on $250,000 bond, WALA said.

CNN's Lateef Mungin contributed to this report.