Prominent San Francisco political consultant Enrique Pearce posted bail early Thursday morning just hours after pleading not guilty at his arraignment to six felonies related to the possession and distribution of child pornography.
Pearce, a 41-year-old San Francisco resident who has worked on numerous high profile election campaigns, is charged with felonies related to child pornography, including possession of material involving sexual sadism or sexual masochism and receiving stolen property, according to the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office.
San Francisco Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Kenya Briggs said today that Pearce posted bail, set by Judge Robert Foley at $400,000, through Aladdin Bail Bonds at about 12:45 a.m. Thursday.
On Wednesday, Eileen Burke, the lawyer who is representing Pearce, told Judge Foley that Pearce was entering a not guilty plea.
Judge Foley set Pearce’s bail at $400,000 Wednesday, up from the initial $215,000 set when he was arrested on May 7.
Prior to the allegations of child pornography, Pearce worked on political campaigns for U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee and San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, as well as San Francisco supervisors Jane Kim and Norman Yee, among others.
Assistant District Attorney Alexis Feigen Fasteau argued that the release of Pearce posed a public safety concern. She noted that among the 4,902 images and videos of child pornography recovered from two of Pearce’s silver Apple laptops, there were graphic images showing sexual abuse of infants as young as six months old.
The investigation also uncovered 115 images stored on Pearce’s cellphone, showing 11 clothed boys between 8 and 12 years old, who appeared not to know they were being photographed.
Those photos, allegedly taken by Pearce, include some that were taken on the steps of San Francisco City Hall, according to Feigen Fasteau.
She said Pearce’s alleged photographing of young boys also represents a public safety concern.
Burke, however, told the judge that Pearce is not a flight risk, that he has lived and worked in San Francisco for over 20 years and that his partner also lives in the city.
Feigen Fasteau said it’s also important to note that there is a third laptop allegedly belonging to Pearce that remains outstanding. She said the contents and whereabouts of that laptop remain unknown.
When investigators executed a search warrant at Pearce’s home they could not locate the third laptop, she said.
Officials have not said whether the creators of the child pornography found in Pearce’s possession have been identified or apprehended.
Hannah Albarazi, Bay City News