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Jurors convicted the founder of a cargo airline on child pornography charges Monday, siding with prosecutors who said he had explicit online chats with undercover officers posing as young teenage girls and collected numerous illegal images.
Robert L. Hedrick, who founded Pan American Airways, was found guilty of distribution and possession of child pornography, transfer of obscene materials to a minor, and attempted sexual exploitation of children. He spoke quietly with his lawyers after the verdict was read, but otherwise showed no reaction.
He could get up to 20 years in prison on just one count of distributing child pornography when sentenced on Aug. 27.
Federal authorities arrested the 61-year-old last summer after undercover detectives in
After leaving the court, defense attorney Ed Stapleton said Hedrick has always maintained his innocence.
In their closing remarks earlier Monday, prosecutors reviewed evidence tying Hedrick to the chats with undercover officers posing online as 13 and 14-year old girls. Defense attorneys denied it was Hedrick at the keyboard, trying to use the Internet's thin veil of anonymity to raise doubts among jurors, and claimed he had a long list of enemies with the motivation and money to set him up.