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Soldier who worked at Mar-a-Lago sentenced for lying during child porn investigation

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — A soldier who had been in charge of the U.S. Army’s White House communications at President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club received probation for lying to federal agents during a child pornography investigation.

Staff Sgt. Richard Ciccarella, 34, tearfully apologized to a federal judge during sentencing Friday after he posted photos on a Russian website of an underage girl who was wearing only underwear, The Palm Beach Post reports. The child was a relative of his, the report said.

At the time he posted the photos, with the caption “Dirty comment’s (sic) welcome,” he was heading up the Army’s communication detail for President Donald Trump’s exclusive Palm Beach club from August 2017 to March 2018.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Gregory Schiller says the photos didn’t constitute child pornography, but Ciccarella lied to investigators about posting the photos, which attracted lewd comments online.

"The lie and the obstruction was to cover up an email address to cover up a much bigger investigation that was going on,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Gregory Schiller in The Palm Beach Post.

The soldier lied about an email account he used to post the photos, saying it wasn’t his, according to the report. When agents asked him to use the email address to access the Russian website, he was prompted to enter numbers from his government cell phone, and when his phone rang, agents concluded that he had posted the photos, The Post reported.

Ciccarella pleaded guilty to making a false statement to a federal agent and was sentenced to three years of probation.

He is now stationed in Virginia.

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