Local Democratic Party chairman pleads not guilty after being arrested on child porn charges
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Former Victoria County Democratic Party Chairman Stephen Jabbour pleaded not guilty to 11 counts of possession and distribution of child pornography during a hearing Wednesday morning.
The detention and arraignment hearing was held in Corpus Christi before Magistrate B. Janice Ellington.
"We're very optimistic about the case," said John T. Floyd III, Jabbour's Houston-based attorney. "We plan on vigorously contesting the allegations against Mr. Jabbour."
Jabbour, 57, was arrested on the federal charges at his Victoria law office on Aug. 20.
Agents of Immigration and Customs Enforcement - Homeland Security Investigations made the arrest.
During the Wednesday morning hearing, two government witnesses gave testimony.
Afterward, Ellington set Jabbour's bond for $500,000 with a $250,000 cash deposit.
The bond also came with 18 mandates by which Jabbour must abide.
Those mandates included no Internet access; 24-hour a day lockdown; home detention with a global positioning system; no firearms/weapons; no unsupervised visits with minor children unless supervised by a parent or guardian; must maintain a landline phone; and remain 100-feet away from any establishment catering to minor children including fast food restaurants.
As of Wednesday afternoon, Jabbour had not made bail and remained in custody.
Floyd said he was optimistic about his client making bail soon.
"He has a lot of support from his family," he said.
A Victoria grand jury returned the indictment against Jabbour on Aug. 19, charging him with seven counts of distributing child pornography via the Internet, including videos depicting sexually explicit conduct with minors and four counts of possessing child pornography between June 2009 and January 2010.
The indictment is the result of an investigation conducted by ICE-HSI as part of Operation Predator, according to a news release.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Lance Duke will be prosecuting the case.
The executive committee of the Victoria County Democratic Party is scheduled to meet at 5 p.m. Thursday at the Unitarian Universalist Church to discuss whether to name an interim or new permanent chair of the county party.
Jabbour gave an informal oral resignation of his position as Victoria County Democratic Party Chairman to John Griffin Jr. during the morning of his arrest.
Griffin serves on the board of directors for the Victoria Democratic Club and the Victoria County Democratic Party executive committee.
In the meantime, Jabbour's attorney shared the defense's next step.
"We're planning on conducting a full examination of all the evidence in the case," said Floyd.