Ashland resident James Auchincloss, half brother of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, said through his attorney at an arraignment hearing this morning that he's not guilty of duplicating and possessing child pornography.
Through his lawyer, Carl Caplan, Auchincloss entered a plea of not guilty at the Jackson County Circuit Court at 9 a.m.
A grand jury indicted the 62-year-old last month on 25 felony counts of encouraging child sexual abuse.
Auchincloss was released from the hearing today without going to jail or posting bail after he agreed through his lawyer to have no contact with minors, not leave the state without permission from the court and adhere to other standard release procedures.
“He has shown that he's responsible, and he's here and is willing to comply,” Caplan told Judge Lisa Greif.
As he walked out of the courtroom, Auchincloss, who has lived in Ashland since 1995, told the Daily Tidings that he had no comment on the proceedings.
Hoppe appeared to be satisfied with the outcome of the arraignment hearing.
“Things proceeded as I expected,” he said.
A pre-trial hearing for the case has been scheduled for 1:30 p.m. on Oct. 26.
It's possible that the Jackson County District Attorney's Office and Kaplan will strike a plea deal before the pre-trial conference, in which case the case would not go to trial, Deputy District Attorney David Hoppe said.
Hoppe said it's unclear whether an agreement will be reached, or whether either party will seek one out.
“I don't know what's going to happen,” he said.
In the meantime, prosecutors plan to continue to seek evidence for the case, Hoppe said.
Eagle Point resident Dennis Vickoren, 58, was also indicted during the same grand jury proceeding last month on 30 felony counts of encouraging child sexual abuse for allegedly disseminating, duplicating and possessing child pornography.
Vickoren is scheduled to be arraigned at 9 a.m. on Thursday at the Jackson County Circuit Court.
Last summer Ashland police began investigating the two men in connection with child porn. In October police searched Auchincloss and Vickoren's homes and found graphic images of young boys, according to search warrant affidavits.
Because of a backlog of computer crime cases, the task force took more than eight months to analyze the 48 pieces of electronic equipment seized.
Hoppe cautioned that although the cases have been open for more than a year, the legal proceedings are far from over.
“This is the beginning of the legal process -- not the end,” he said.
Contact staff writer Hannah Guzik at 482-3456 ext. 226 or hguzik@dailytidings.