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Jury deliberates in former American Idol contestant's child porn case

Updated: Jan. 26, 2017 at 10:22 PM CST
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Brandon Cox during Wednesday's court testimony. (Source: WSFA 12 News)
Brandon Cox during Wednesday's court testimony. (Source: WSFA 12 News)

ELMORE CO., AL (WSFA) - It was a buildup two days in the making. After nearly 20 hours of technical and explicit testimony from forensic experts and an agent who investigates child exploitation cases for the State Bureau of Investigation, defendant Brandon Cox took the stand as the defense's only witness.

Defense attorney Kenny James humanized his client, who's defense was a missing alibi - employment records. Cox's testimony revealed that from 2011, when ALEA executed a search warrant, to the time he was indicted in 2015, he could no longer prove he was at work when the illegal files were loaded onto his computer.

Cox stated multiple times he didn't know what was on his computer because he used it for music for various shows he auditioned for in 2011.

"The competitions I went to that year, we had to bring our own music," Cox, a former American Idol contestant, stated on the witness stand.

Cox testified he used a file share program named Frost Wire to download that music, a program he claimed was pre-loaded to a floor model laptop he purchased at Best Buy. Experts stated in testimony they have never known of this program to come as a standard feature on any laptop or computer. Cox also couldn't prove he purchased the laptop from Best Buy.

James asked, "Do you have any idea how they got there?" Cox responded, "No."

During the first day of the trial, jurors watched an hour long, videotaped interview involving Cox, who was under oath, and an SBI agent, while investigators served the search warrant at his house.

This video became a harsh point of reference during cross-examination as Cox changed his answers to various questions.  During cross-examination of Cox, prosecutor Kristi Peoples asked him about who used his computer.

"You were the only person who used your computer?" Peoples asked.  "No," Cox responded.

Peoples followed up, "Did you watch your interview? Eight different times you said you were the sole user."

Cox, responded stating he said that because everyone else in the house had their own computers. He also diverted from his initial statement, denying his computer was password-protected, something he stated multiple times on the 2011 video.

Cox rejected all testimony from forensic experts.

Peoples asked Cox, "How did 157 videos of child porn get on that thumb drive?" Cox responded, "I've never seen child pornography, I've never searched for child pornography."

Peoples reacted, "Mr. Cox, you did not answer my question. How did those 157 videos get on your thumb drive?" Cox responded, "I do not know."

Cox also denied he used Google, which went against the forensic expert's testimony about the search terms Cox reportedly used in a Google toolbar. In addition to the words, which are too explicit to publish, there was a "favorites" folder with links to child pornography websites.

In closing, James asked the jury to consider if Cox knowingly downloaded the images. The prosecution had the last word with the jury, stating mistakes are possible, but not 275 times.

The jury deliberated for nearly 5 hours Thursday before being sent home for the night. Deliberations will resume Friday morning.

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