The fate of an HIV-positive former Emory and Grady doctor is in the hands of a federal jury, which began deliberations in his criminal trial Monday afternoon in downtown Atlanta.
Adam Lebowitz (photo), who did not testify in his own defense, is accused of two federal counts of producing child pornography and one of enticing a minor for purposes of committing unlawful sexual acts.
Prosecutors allege Lebowitz used the Internet to find teen boys for sex, videotaped the encounters and posted them online. Lebowitz was arrested in 2006 when he arranged to meet a 15-year-old boy in Coweta County and had a sleeping bag, condoms, lube, hospital scrubs and a camera with him.
He pleaded guilty to soliciting underage sex in 2007, but that plea and its 20-year prison sentence were thrown out after Lebowitz was caught trying to board a flight to Hawaii.
Atlanta attorney Steve Scarborough opened the defense for Lebowitz on Monday by questioning investigators over the age of the teens and whether they were of legal age. One teen who had sex with Lebowitz in Boston later signed an affidavit saying he was 18 when the two had sex, according to the Times-Herald, which has been covering the federal trial. Another teen stated he was 18 on the MySpace page Lebowitz used to contact him.
U.S. Attorney Richard Moultrie presented the prosecution’s case in proceedings in Atlanta and began by having Lebowitz’s accuser, now 18 years old, read the transcripts of instant messages sent between him and Lebowitz on the MySpace social networking Web site.
The messages were sent in late October 2006, a few days before Lebowitz was arrested on Nov. 2, 2006.
Although he has been identified and interviewed by name since Lebowitz’s arrest, the teen was underage at the time of the incident and Judge Story ruled that during the trial his name would not be used by courtroom officials and that he would be referred to by his initials, K.S.
The first instant message read by K.S. in court was one of the earliest contacts between the teen and Lebowitz on MySpace.
Lebowitz describes his work in the Grady emergency room and describes the last woman he dated. He then says he has mostly dated males since.
Lebowitz and K.S. engage in messages about sexual self-gratification and Lebowitz says he admires the MySpace photo that shows K.S. in the baseball uniform he wore while playing on the East Coweta ninth grade team.
Lebowitz says he would like to “hang out.” Lebowitz also proposes swapping photographs and says that if K.S. will let [Lebowitz] take a picture of K.S., Lebowitz will let K.S. take a picture of him. Lebowitz says the photos would be “for our eyes only” and would not be shared.
On Monday, Scarborough pursued discrepancies in the age of the Coweta County teen.
The defense attempted to show that when first contacted by Southerland, A.G. — who lived in the Boston area when the alleged crimes took place — stated that he made the tape in spring 2003 when he was still 17 and not of legal age.
Under questioning by Scarborough, Southerland agreed that when questioned at a later date by U.S. attorneys A.G. had stated the taping may have been done when he was 18 and of legal age.
Southerland said the latest questioning of A.G. and his recollection that he had driven to Lebowitz’ house to make the tape not long after he received his driver’s license at age 17 was evidence A.G. was under the legal age of 18 when the tape was made.
The defense then called Ed Johnson, a Boston-area private investigator who had contacted and interviewed A.G. in 2008 upon the request of Florida attorneys who were then representing Lebowitz.
Johnson testified that he first contacted A.G. at the dorm where he attended college and that after lengthy discussions, A.G. agreed to accompany Johnson to his office. At that time an affidavit requested by Lebowitz’ attorneys was prepared in which A.G. stated he was 18 and of legal age at the time the tape of the sexual encounter was made.
The jury continued its deliberations Tuesday morning.