United States District Court, D. Minnesota
S. Doty, Judge.
matter is before the court upon the motion for a new trial
and an extended briefing period by defendant Ian Scot Laurie.
Based on a review of the file, record, and proceedings
herein, and for the following reasons, the court denies the
October 26, 2017, a jury convicted Laurie of five counts of
distribution of child pornography, and the court denied
Laurie's motion for judgment of acquittal. Laurie now
moves for a new trial on several grounds and requests an
additional thirty days to fully brief the issues.
Standard of Review
motion of a defendant, “the court may vacate any
judgment and grant a new trial if the interest of justice so
requires.” Fed. R. Cr. P. 33(a). The court has broad
discretion to grant a new trial, but should do so “only
sparingly and with caution.” United States v.
Dodd, 391 F.3d 930, 934 (8th Cir. 2004).
Motion for New Trial
Prejudicial Effect of the Term “Child
first argues that the court erred in denying his motion to
prohibit the use of the term “child pornography”
at trial because it was unduly prejudicial and inflammatory.
The court disagrees.
the term “child pornography” is a term that
accurately describes the pictures and videos Laurie
distributed. Second, prohibiting counsel and witnesses from
using the term “child pornography” would have
unnecessarily distracted the jurors from the evidence.
Finally, Laurie provides no case law in support of his theory
that the use of “child pornography” or similar
terms is so prejudicial as to constitute error. Even assuming
that the use of the term “child pornography” is
prejudicial, the evidence against Laurie was substantial, and
the jury's verdict would have not likely changed even if
the term were excluded. See United States v.
Bentley, 561 F.3d 803, 810-11 (8th Cir. 2009) (“We
have ... declined to reverse the trial court even when terms
such as ‘monster, ' ‘sexual deviant, '
and ‘liar' are used, when the weight of the
evidence was heavy and there is no reasonable probability
that the verdict would have changed absent the comments
....”) (citation and internal quotation marks omitted)
(second omission in original). Therefore, a new trial is not
warranted on this basis.
Rachel Boggs's Testimony
next argues that it was error to allow non-responsive
testimony from government witness Rachel Boggs. Laurie contends
that Boggs's testimony was prejudicial because she
referred to his prior arrest and alleged that he took a
salacious and non-consensual photo of her. He further argues
that the government's failure to adequately warn Boggs
not to testify as to these matters amounts to prosecutorial
court notes that Laurie failed to object to the testimony and
did not move to strike it from the record. Although the court
agrees that Boggs's testimony could be deemed
non-responsive, it does not believe that it unduly prejudiced
the jury. First, the jury was instructed that “the
defendant is not on trial for any act or any conduct not
specifically charged in the indictment.” ECF No. 100 at
7. The court believes that this instruction was sufficient to
ensure that the jury did not improperly consider Boggs's
testimony about Laurie's past conduct. Second, as already