New details have emerged in the case against ex-New Found Glory guitarist Steve Klein after his ex-wife gave evidence in a pre-trial hearing. Klein was arraigned on child pornography and lewd conduct felonies in March this year.
The San Luis Obispo Tribune reports Amanda Klein testified that in September 2012, whilst her husband was out of town and only days after she had filed for divorce from him, she opened an external hard drive found in his home office — a drive she said they shared and used to store movies – looking for evidence of her husband having an affair.
She claims she found “at least 100” sexual video chats between Klein and unnamed females who appeared to be underage on the hard drive. One of the videos allegedly showed Steve Klein masturbating while two females — who were clothed — watched on. Amanda contacted local authorities, who picked up the drive the next day.
Amanda Klein testified that she didn’t see any undressed underage girls in the videos. Senior Deputy Douglas Scotto, the chief investigator in the case, testified that Amanda told him she’d never seen any naked underage girls in the videos, but that she had heard her daughter’s voice in one of them and was “troubled”.
After receiving the hard drive, Scotto said he called a deputy district attorney for advice on whether he needed a search warrant to look at its files, and the attorney said no.
Steve Klein’s attorney Debra White then questioned whether or not the drive was actually shared between the couple, and argued that Scotto should have asked for a warrant because he didn’t have enough probable cause that a crime had been committed based solely on what Amanda had told them.
Judge John Trice ruled against White’s motion, finding that Amanda Klein was acting as a private citizen, and that there were “no red flags” which would have told investigators they needed a warrant to access the hard-drive. It was not established in the hearing whether or not the evidence on the drive showed anything illegal.
White requested to impose a gag order on the case due to Klein’s high profile. Judge Trice also rejected this request.
The case will continue on 22nd May at a preliminary hearing in San Luis Obispo Superior Court, when a Sheriff’s Office computer forensic specialist is expected to testify, shedding more light on what the hard-drive contains.