MANKATO, Minn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Todd Hoffner and his lawyers issued the following statements after a press conference held earlier today. The statement by Todd and his lawyers follow.
Todd Hoffner Statement:
My wife and I have anticipated this day for a very long time.
It has finally taken a person with great courage, authority, and common sense to see what these videos really are: innocent and harmless family moments captured on a cell phone.
The last 102 days have been a long and painful nightmare that my wife and I have had to endure. Our lives have been turned upside down. We have suffered considerable mental, physical and emotional hardship.
But today, our minds are filled with more questions than answers. Throughout this process, we have often wondered how this could have been handled differently, but more importantly, how can we prevent this from happening again to another innocent family in the future? I am so thankful to live in a country where the presumption of innocence still means something, but I’ve been humbled by the power that a small group of people can bring to bear on an innocent person. I’m just so thankful to be waking up from this nightmare.
In our society today, it is often difficult for people to do the right thing and acknowledge that they have made a mistake. I will be the first to let you know that I am sorry for using my cell phone to videotape some innocent and harmless family videos. I didn’t think twice when I used that phone to capture the 102 seconds of family moments. At the time, I just thought I was being a good dad. I was just doing what my kids asked me to do --videotape them playing in our home.
Ever since this story broke my wife and I have been the beneficiaries of supportive friends, parents, teachers, colleagues, administrators, civic leaders and family...Especially Jerry Maschka and Jim Fleming in representing my family and me. You have both been extremely supportive, professional and first-class through this difficult time. We are forever grateful and blessed to have acquired your excellent services.
As our family continues through the journey of life, we will need a continuation of the concerted effort to shelter my children from these false accusations. It will take a village to raise these children and to keep this nightmare from haunting them in the future. The adversity we have faced will only make us stronger.
"Life is ten percent what happens to you and ninety percent how you respond to it." Lou Holtz
On behalf of the Hoffner’s, thank you to all who have supported us throughout this process. I’m really looking forward to getting back my life, my job and my family.
Jerry Maschka Statement:
Today’s decision confirms what has been true all along, Todd Hoffner is totally and completely innocent. There was never behavior which arguably could be a crime.
The most important message you can give readers and your viewers, is that this is an exoneration.
This is a great family-fiercely protective of their children. They are the last people on earth who would cause those children any harm.
We contend the serious and defamatory charges were brought before conducting any investigation. When subsequent investigation revealed overwhelming evidence of Todd Hoffner’s innocence, this County Attorney’s office refused to dismiss these charges despite our repeated requests.
We expect the University to reinstate Todd Hoffner. We are asking the University to send the message that reason will prevail over hysteria and that people are not going to be punished simply because they are wrongly accused of a crime.
Jim Flemming Statement
When I got this case, I never appreciated the balance between what is obscenity and what is not obscenity. I read many cases in my training as a lawyer 25 years ago. I did not think that I would ever have one of those cases that would touch on obscenity in my career.
But on August 21, 2012 when my partner got the phone call that MSU’s Head Football Coach was in jail, all that changed. The Judge’s Order in this case refutes every fact and every argument put forward by the State that the video was child pornography. In the State’s Memo filed on November 14, 2012, they stated that the children were masturbating and engaging in lewd behavior. That is not true. They offered no facts to substantiate that claim.
The State’s Memo was critical of me for detailing what the video showed, accusing me of desensitizing any viewer of these images. Our argument was based on a statutory analysis. Was this video on its four corners child pornography? Did it show:
a. Sexual intercourse
b. Sadomasochistic abuse
d. Lewd exhibition of the genitalia
e. Contact that elicits sexual stimulation or gratification
The Judge’s Order clearly states that the video shows none of this and, as such, is not child pornography.
Mr. Hoffner’s testimony on October 31, 2012 established that he did nothing in any way to sexualize this video contrasting with the representation made by Detective Jerry Billiar where he alleged that my client said in the video, "Do it again." The Court’s Order and Memo clearly states that Mr. Hoffner did not in any way instruct, orchestrate, promote, or order his children in any way. The representation that Todd Hoffner said do it again was completely false, even though Mr. Billiar chose to represent to a District Court Judge in a warrant under oath that Mr. Hoffner had said that.
This video is not child pornography and it never was. One of the many troubling aspects of this case is that no one from law enforcement knew what this video was and they went to the prosecutor Michael Hanson and asked him. Without any analysis and without any legal thought, Mr. Hanson decided alone that these images were child pornography.
In the prosecution’s brief, they chose to end their argument with the famous quote in Jacobe i/is v. Ohio when Justice Potter Stewart made the famous statement about hardcore pornography, "I know it when I see it." Mr. Hanson argued that this was child pornography because he knows it when he sees it. But like much of this case, the use of that quote too was taken out of its context. In that case, the Supreme Court reversed the conviction and Justice Stewart authored a concurring opinion in which he stated, "I shall not today attempt to further define the kinds of material I understand to embrace within the shorthand description; and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so, but I know it when I see it and the motion picture in this case is not that. The State chose not to provide the full quote leaving out the motion picture involved in this case is not that.
When I got this case and I read the allegations against Todd Hoffner, the descriptions in the Complaint did not add up. Like Potter Stewart, when I saw the video, I know child pornography when I see it and the video I saw was not that.
The Judge’s Order unequivocally states, "These videos are not child pornography." Finally, videotaping your children, as Todd Hoffner did, is not against the law. And videotaping your children, as Todd Hoffner did, is protected under the Constitution of the United States.