Chris Simcox, the erstwhile face of the minuteman movement, was not playing to the cameras Wednesday morning in Maricopa County Superior Court, as he stood before Judge Casey Newcomb and pleaded not guilty to six felony counts related to child molestation.
Rather, the one-time leader of Minuteman Civil Defense Corps and co-founder of the Minuteman Project, who has made countless appearances on Fox News and other outlets, was clearly unhappy at the sight of video and still photographers, there to catch the formality of Simcox's arraignment hearing.
Simcox's public defender sounded ready to concede when Judge Newcomb asked if there was any objection to the two media pool cameras present.
See Also: Chris Simcox Worked for iMemories, Duties Didn't Include Viewing Kid Pics, Says Company, Arizona Treasurer Doug Ducey Recently Company's Board Chair (w/Update) Russell Pearce: "Good People" Like Alleged Child Molester Chris Simcox "Do Stupid Things Sometimes"
However, Simcox almost immediately said, "Yes."
The public defender then formally objected, in order to "prevent any public influence on Simcox's case."
But the judge said the cameras could stay, after making note of the PD's objection.
There was a time when the space between Simcox and a TV camera would have been a dangerous spot. Reporters and documentary-makers flocked to him during and following the Minuteman Project's big splash back in 2005.
Simcox was arguably the most telegenic and well-spoken leader of those drawn to the U.S.-Mexico border in a vain attempt at rebuffing the undocumented folks coming across.
He later ran for U.S. Senate in the 2010 GOP primary against John McCain, dropping out early on to throw his support behind J.D. Hayworth.
Following a brief stint with the Hayworth campaign and after being accused of domestic violence by his soon-to-be ex-wife Alena, he fell off the proverbial radar.
At least for part of that time, he was working for the Scottsdale company iMemories, owned largely by Arizona Treasurer Doug Ducey. The business transfers home movies and photos into a digital format.
The company has denied that Simcox viewed clients' family images. But its representatives have not given specifics on what the ex-minuteman did for iMemories, other than stating that he was an "hourly employee."
A spokesman for the company claimed Simcox was terminated June 5. Phoenix cops arrested him June 19.
Dressed in the standard stripes of an in-custody inmate and handcuffed in front, Simcox scowled during his time in court, sometimes biting his lower lip.
After he stated his name and pleaded not guilty, he returned to the fishbowl, where county prisoners await their turn in court, and was escorted out.
He will likely be in jail for a long time. If convicted, he could spend the rest of his life behind bars.
As I've reported previously, his charges break down thus: two counts of molestation of a child, a class 2 felony; three for sexual conduct with a minor, a class 2 felony; and one for furnishing obscene or harmful items to children, a class 4 felony.
The class 2 felonies are categorized as dangerous crimes against children, meaning that, hypothetically, at least, Simcox could face life in prison for just one of them, if found guilty.
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Should a life sentence not be imposed after a guilty verdict, the law calls for consecutive sentencing, meaning the sentences would run back-to-back. The sentence for just one count of molestation or sexual conduct with a minor could be anywhere from 13 to 27 years.
The allegations in Simcox's probable cause statement cited three children under the age of ten, one being Simcox's daughter.
Only two victims currently are listed for the six counts. A third victim, whose incident apparently did not involve touching, is no longer cited.
Simcox's next hearing is scheduled for August 20.