Law enforcers in Tacoma, Wash., are furious that Weldon Marc Gilbert, who made more than 100 videotapes of his molestations of more than a dozen boys, has now been given copies of the pornographic tapes as he prepares to represent himself at a state trial. In 2009, Gilbert pled guilty in federal court to 31 counts of producing child pornography involving 17 victims and was sentenced to 25 years in prison, reports the New York Times. As he prepares for a state trial next next month on charges of rape and molestation, he is allowed to review the evidence against him — including the pornographic videos — and watch them as often as he likes. Restricting his access could result in a mistrial.
“It's absurd and maddening,” said Mark Lindquist, a prosecutor in Tacoma, where the state trial is to begin Sept. 19. While defendants normally can view evidence against them, Lindquist said, they are not usually allowed to possess it, particularly when it is contraband like pornography. “I have never had a case where a defense attorney wanted to possess the pornography,” he said. “We don't turn cocaine over to defendants for them to personally check out.” State legislators have vowed to change the law but they cannot do so in time to affect Gilbert's case.