A former computer forensics expert hired to testify in court cases has pleaded guilty to federal perjury charges for falsifying his resume and lying in open court, presumably about his credentials.
James Earl Edmiston pleaded guilty to two counts of perjury relating to testimony he gave in two separate criminal cases, both involving child pornography. His mea culpa comes after federal agents involved in the cases grew suspicious of his resume. It claimed two colleges - the California Institute of Technology and the University of California at Los Angeles - awarded him degrees that aren't offered by either school. Further checks uncovered Edmiston made multiple false statements in both cases, according to an article in the Fresno Bee.
It's not Edmiston's first fraud-related conviction. He served time for a forgery conviction in the mid 1990s.
During a hearing in September, shortly after Edmiston's arrest, prosecutors alleged the defendant sought copies of child porn images at issue in one of the cases, according to the Bee. While working on the other case, prosecutors said, he copied images that were in evidence and then left the federal office without deleting them from his hard drive. No charges have resulted from those allegations.
Edmiston faces 10 years in prison and a fine of $500,000 at sentencing, which is scheduled for July 13. Based on sentencing guidelines, which take into account his criminal history, his prison term is likely to be closer to three years,
At the time Edmiston worked on the child porn cases, he had already been qualified as an expert witness in computers and submitted court testimony in several jurisdictions, including federal court in California, and in courts in at least two California counties. It remains unclear how many cases Edmiston worked on or how long he had been providing expert testimony.
In both of the child porn cases in which Edmiston committed perjury, the faux expert was hired to testify on behalf of the defendants. Authorities say they are unaware of any convictions that have been jeopardized as a result of Edmiston's actions. ®