US court gives Amos Yee, who faces child porn, grooming charges, time to ‘talk to loved ones’ on prosecution offer
SINGAPORE — A United States (US) court has given Singaporean Amos Yee time to discuss with his loved ones a special prosecutor’s offer.
Yee, 23, faces 18 charges, including grooming, indecently soliciting a child and possessing child pornography. His case was heard in a Chicago court early Saturday (Nov 13) morning Singapore time.
The public defender — a lawyer employed by the state in a criminal trial to represent a defendant who is unable to afford legal help — told the court that Yee was asking for more time to “talk to loved ones” about the offer from the special prosecutor.
The special prosecutor has “graciously agreed” to hold the offer open for a month, the defence lawyer said, without giving details of the offer.
According to the US Department of Justice, a defendant may be offered a plea deal to avoid trial and “perhaps reduce his exposure to a more lengthy sentence”.
He was arrested by US Marshals, a law enforcement agency, on Oct 14 last year at his apartment in Chicago’s Norwood Park East neighbourhood, the court previously heard.
He is accused of exchanging nude photos with a 14-year-old girl via messaging service WhatsApp. The alleged incidents happened between Feb 1 and June 30 in 2019, and involved thousands of texts.
When their relationship soured, the girl contacted a group of people “interested in exposing paedophiles”, the court was told.
Yee has been on remand since his arrest, with a US$1 million (S$1.35 million) bond. If found guilty, he could lose his asylum status and be deported back to Singapore.
AMOS YEE served two prison terms for wounding religious feelings.
In September 2016, he was jailed six weeks and fined $2,000 for eight charges – two for failing to turn up at a police station and six for intending to wound the feelings of Muslims and/or Christians.
In July 2015, he served a four-week sentence for making remarks that were derogatory and offensive to Christians in an online video.