NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – A federal judge will rule whether the search was legal that produced evidence against a Navy SEAL charged with possession and production of child pornography.
Petty Officer First Class Gregory Seerden is a member of SEAL Team One based in San Diego. He was on JEB Little Creek-Fort Story in January for a week of training when a woman told NCIS he had sexually assaulted her.
During their investigation, agents obtained a Command Authorization for Search and Seizure of Seerden’s iPhone. According to court documents, that search uncovered 78 sexually explicit images and videos of children. An indictment charged Seerden with possession and production of child pornography.
In federal court Tuesday, Seerden’s federal public defender argued that the search was illegal. Attorney Andrew Grindrod says the authorization came from the wrong officer. Agents got the authorization from Seerden’s commanding officer in San Diego.
Citing the Military Rules of Evidence, Grindrod argued that the commanding officer of Little Creek-Fort Story should have been the one to sign the military equivalent of a search warrant, because that was the location of the phone when agents seized it.
10 On Your Side asked NCIS about why agents chose to get authorization from San Diego, and not Little Creek. A spokeswoman says she is looking into it.
Judge Raymond Jackson says he will rule in the next week or two. If he throws out the search, the evidence the government claims it has to implicate Seerden would also be dismissed.