Billionaire T. Denny Sanford Was Investigated For Child Pornography—Newly Unsealed Documents Reveal Why

Nude photos of underage girls between the ages of 8 and 15 were discovered in the email account of billionaire T. Denny Sanford, who is the wealthiest person in South Dakota, newly unsealed documents show, shedding light on a child pornography investigation into the philanthropist which was closed without charges in 2022.

In the summer of 2019, images of nude underage girls were discovered in an AOL email linked to Sanford, prompting an investigation into the founder of First Premier Bank who is worth $2 billion and has donated large sums to children’s causes, according to documents released Thursday.

The images were revealed in unsealed court documents this week after a court battle by the news organizations ProPublica and South Dakota’s Argus Leader newspaper.

In 2019 the parent company of AOL sent information about the images to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, which in turn made the referral to law enforcement, sparking an investigation that included five search warrants for Sanford’s email, phone, and internet data; one investigator wrote he believed there was evidence of criminality, according to the documents.

Sanford’s attorney Stacey Hegge said Thursday that after an “exhaustive” investigation, no prosecutable offense was discovered, partly because many individuals had access to Sanford’s devices, including, potentially, hackers.

The investigation was closed last year after the South Dakota attorney general, who was leading it, was impeached, but it isn’t fully clear why Sanford was not indicted.

Sanford fought to keep the documents sealed, but, after a years-long battle led by news organizations ProPublica and the Argus Leader to publicize the affidavit, South Dakota courts ruled to unseal them on April 6.

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Author: HP McLovincraft

Seeker of rabbit holes. Pessimist. Libertine. Contrarian. Your huckleberry. Possibly true tales of sanity-blasting horror also known as abject reality. Prepare yourself. Veteran of a thousand psychic wars. I have seen the fnords. Deplatformed on Tumblr and Twitter.

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