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Documents reveal Sanford as ‘implicated individual’ in child pornography investigation

FILE - In this Feb. 3, 2007 file photo, South Dakota philanthropist T. Denny Sanford speaks...
FILE - In this Feb. 3, 2007 file photo, South Dakota philanthropist T. Denny Sanford speaks with reporters in Sioux Falls, S.D. The South Dakota Supreme Court Tuesday, Aug. 24, 2021 weighed whether to unseal a search warrant and affidavits in an investigation into billionaire banker-turned-philanthropist T. Denny Sanford for possible possession of child pornography. The court documents are sealed and refer only to “an implicated individual," and attorneys did not name Sanford as they made their arguments. However, one person briefed on the case by law enforcement told The Associated Press that the hearing involved Sanford and a legal effort by media organizations to unseal court records in the investigation. The person demanded anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the investigation.(Carson Walker | AP Photo/Carson Walker, File)
Published: Nov. 17, 2021 at 1:32 PM CST
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Philanthropist T. Denny Sanford has been identified as the ‘implicated individual’ in a child pornography investigation.

Court documents released publicly Wednesday confirm Sanford’s role in the case.

The release of the documents follows a decision by the South Dakota Supreme Court, which ruled in favor of the Argus Leader and ProPublica in October. The two media organizations requested records related to a criminal investigation into Sanford.

Sanford has not been charged in the case.

Dakota News Now had previously reported that Sanford was a part of the investigation. Marty Jackley, who is representing Sanford, told Dakota News Now Wednesday the South Dakota Attorney General’s Office denied some reports that some anonymous sourcing was coming from that office.

“The Attorney General through his October 28, 2021 press release, has now called into question the accuracy of the anonymous sources that have been providing the information on this investigation,” Jackley said. “Irrespective of the anonymous sources, what we do know is that an investigation involving search warrants began in December of 2019, and it was thorough in that it included five search warrants. The Attorney General has further acknowledged in the Court filings the headings on the first page of each of the search warrants being released today contain incorrect information. The ultimate fact remains that the investigating authorities have not found information to support criminal charges.”

The incorrect information claim is referring to Sanford being listed as a defendant, although he has not been charged, or even brought it for an interview with law enforcement, according to Jackley.

Additional documents were released Wednesday afternoon by a Minnehaha County Judge that revealed more specifics of what was searched during the warrants. Data included cell phone records from Verizon, internet and IP information from Midcontinent, AOL and Hotmail e-mail addresses, and digital information from Oath Inc. based in Virginia. More documents remain sealed, including items listed as inventory. The search warrants were signed and executed in December 2019 and March of 2020.

South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg determined that there was enough evidence to charge Sanford in the case, but opted to defer to federal prosecutors because the case spanned across many states.

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