In United States v. Moran, No. 21-12573 (Jan 13, 2013) (Jordan, Rosenbaum, Newsom), the Court affirmed the defendant’s convictions for attempting to produce child pornography.
The defendant commented on several “mom blog” posts asking mothers to display sexually explicit imagines of their young daughters. First, the Court rejected the defendant’s sufficiency argument that he lacked the specific intent to have bloggers post child pornography because, even if that was unlikely to happen, he still could have desired that result. And that was true even if he also intended to troll people online.
Second, the evidence was sufficient to allow a jury to conclude that the defendant knew that, if produced, the child pornography he sought would travel in interstate commerce. The Court rejected the defendant’s argument that he first had to know that his attempt would succeed.
Finally, and reviewing for plain error, the evidence was sufficient to show that the defendant took a “substantial step” toward committing the offense.