Attorney for Dan Peggs seeks dismissal of several charges

Daniel Peggs  (Source: Dane County Sheriff's Office)
Daniel Peggs (Source: Dane County Sheriff's Office)(NBC15)
Published: Jun. 28, 2021 at 4:15 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 28, 2021 at 4:20 PM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - The attorney representing Daniel Peggs says the charge of human trafficking filed against the former Altoona superintendent is too broad and needs to be clarified before a trial can be held.

Joseph Bugni is the court-appointed federal defender representing Peggs. For months, Bugni had asked for, and received, extensions to file pre-trial motions in the Peggs case; on Friday, June 25, those motions were filed.

The first requests a bill of particulars. Essentially, the defense argues when Peggs was indicted on the count of human trafficking the government failed to identify when the alleged crime happened, the means of the alleged trafficking and what actions allegedly committed by Peggs qualify as a commercial transaction.

Without these details, Bugni says a trial could take weeks because they would have to prepare an alibi for every day of the seven months outlined in the indictment. If the bill of particulars is provided, Bugni writes the trial could held over five days.

Another reason for this: Bugni says the young woman at the heart of the case, “Jane Doe,” has her information mixed up and is putting Peggs at events that happened with other men; when the dates are provided it will prove this.

Motion two looks to sever one of the possession of child porn counts. Bugni says the file in which this charge originates was downloaded years before the alleged encounters with Doe, “According to the reports, the hard drive contained tens of thousands of songs, many of which were originally downloaded from a now illegal website, LimeWire. The report shows that the videos in question were all originally downloaded from LimeWire between: 01/12/2008 to 02/17/2008. Subsequently, there was a massive transfer on 07/01/2012 of music files. Within this transfer of music files, was also a buried sub-file of child pornography.” Bugni continues that while there may be an overlap in subject matter the file is not related to this situation and should be removed from this case.

Motion three requests to have one of the receiving child pornography charges dismissed. Bugni writes, “the photo and the description are (without question) sexually suggestive, but they are not an image that could be considered a lascivious display of genitalia. They involve a display of her bare breasts and that doesn’t cut it” … “the image in count 5, and with the accurate description given above, does not qualify. And Peggs cannot be held to stand trial for an image that no rational jury could find meets the definition of child pornography.”

The fourth motion is purely administrative. It is a motion to dismiss the count of sex trafficking a child. In the event the “bill or particulars” is granted the defense believes the details will prove that Peggs did not traffic Doe but was in attendance of an event at a hotel in which several men chipped in for a hotel room where they all gathered to have sex with Doe.

In his filing Bugni once again outlines the massive amount of evidence in the case, “Currently the discovery tops 171,588 pages, including recorded interviews, various spreadsheets full of data, and cell phone downloads, which put the real total closer to a quarter million pages.”

Some of that electronic evidence comes from another case connected to Peggs through Doe. At the same time last July when Peggs was charged with additional federal crimes a man named Bryan Ragon was admitting his role in the trafficking of Doe. Ragon is from North Carolina and was charged with transporting Doe to Wisconsin and Minnesota for the purpose of prostitution and having sex with men. In discussing her relationship with Ragon, Doe told investigators he made her livestream all of her sexual encounters so he could watch or listen.

The next court date for Peggs is next month.

If you or someone you know is the victim of human trafficking you can reach out to the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 888-373-7888. Locally, you can call or text Fierce Freedom at 715-828-6040.

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