Peter Mallory took the stand at his trial Thursday to offer testimony in his defense. However, several character witnesses offered testimony before Mallory was called.
The defense first called Kay Elam whom has attended church with Mallory, and she described Mallory as being a man of high esteem. Prosecuting attorney Kevin McMurry showed Elam the images taken from a camera hidden under Mallory’s desk that was aimed towards the private areas of women.
“It just looks like someone trying to protect their computer equipment.” Elam said, when asked to explain her opinion of the pictures.
“He had a reason to do it if he did it,” said another witness, Ben Thompson who has known Mallory since high school.
Clark Johnson, a witness who has known Mallory his whole life, was very passionate about the reputation of his friend. McMurry asked Johnson if he would consider Mallory a man of good character if he knew that Mallory knowingly possessed images of children involved in sex acts.
“He would have to say he did it.” Johnson said to McMurry. “There’s nothing you can do or say that would convince me that he knew. He would have to say it.” Johnson was dismissed by Judge Blackmon after the attorneys were done with questioning, but he continued to speak on stand. After Blackmon stated twice to Johnson that he was dismissed, Blackmon stood up from his chair, and Johnson finally left the stand.
Mallory was then called to the stand.
“I’m a little nervous, but glad to be here to tell what really happened.” Mallory said when asked by Defense Attorney Ed Garland about his current state.
Mallory stated that he is not guilty of the charges brought against him — 60 counts of sexual exploitation of children, three counts of invasion of privacy and one count of tampering with evidence.
He described that in the late 1990s he wanted to add movies to his TV station’s programming schedule and first went to Barnes & Noble for movies, but they were “terribly” expensive. He had later discovered from reading an article, that he could get free movies by using peer-to-peer downloading. Uncopyrighted movies on the program have no restrictions so they were free. He the began using peer-to peer to download old movies onto hard drives that he would use for TV-33.
Garland asked Mallory to explain what happened the day he was arrested. Mallory explained that it was over 80 degrees that day and he was nervous about what the police said they had found at his station could destroy all the good he’s done.
“It was hot, I was nervous and there were a lot of people in that station.” Mallory said. He stated that he asked Detective Wayne Cato — an officer assigned to watch Mallory during the search of the TV-33 station — about two or three times if he could turn on the fan. After getting permission from Cato, Mallory got under his desk and said there were teams and teams of wires. He found the plug to the fan and jerked it a couple times and snatched some wires.
“Next thing I knew he was grabbing me saying ‘get out of there, get out of there.’” Mallory recalled. “And I thought I knocked a hard drive out of a box, so I put in the box.”
In previous testimony, Cato’s audio recording during the time of the incident was played and Mallory’s voice could be heard saying the words “I did” when Cato asked if he pulled a hard drive from the computer. Mallory explained that he said “I did” in the form of a question and not a statement. He said that the hard drive was on the floor and did not know where it had come from.
Garland then asked Mallory to explain the hidden cameras in his office. Mallory explained that he had two important jump drives containing hundreds of commercials and pictures that had went missing along with other tools and equipment. He set up cameras to see who was accessing the area while he was not there and he did not inform the employees because if they were the ones stealing, he would not be able to tell.
Mallory said he could not afford to hire security company to install cameras, so he decided it would be cheaper to use what he already had at the station. After hidden cameras were previously knocked of his desk by people using the computer, he said he decided to put it under his desk where it was aimed to get as much of the room as possible. He said he was able to get his thumb drives back after discovering that a teenage boy, whom was brought to the station by a co-host for one of the late night shows, was coming into his office.
Mallory said that he would turn the camera on before he went to do the news and would turn it off when he would finish. He said he would occasionally forget to turn them on and off. One clip was shown of Mallory and one of an underage victim doing karaoke, along with other people in the office singing along
Multiple video clips were shown where Mallory came into his office and would set down a camera he would always wear around his neck. He said a lot of times the camera would be on without his knowledge and buttons could easily be bumped against his chest.
When downloading movies, Mallory said that he would tell if the movies were the ones he wanted within the first second of the video. He would look for movie logos, and if the movies were not what he wanted he would put them on a garbage drive. He would put red tape on the garbage drives and lock them away, in hopes of being able to wipe them clean, but never got around to doing so.
McMurry noted that Mallory said in an interview with Detective Chris Pritchett that he did not tell Pritchett he had questionable child porn on the drives, but told the court that the images he saw could possibly have been questionable.
McMurry noted that in an interview, Mallory told Pritchett that there could have been a hard drive on the floor, but told the court that he picked up a hard drive from the floor.
“That drive is exactly what got you arrested that day.” McMurry said to Mallory. Mallory agreed and said that he thought he had told Pritchett.
The prosecution also played the audio from when Pritchett asked Mallory if he had ever stumbled across child porn kind of things or any questionable material.
“You see it.” Mallory replied in the audio recording.
“Have you ever found anything while you were going through … going wait this isn’t mine, this is child porn, this is..” Pritchett said.
“Yea you see it all the time,” interrupted Mallory.
“What do you do with it?” asked Pritchett.
“At that time I just delete it.”
Mallory stated that he formulated the first response after Pritchett had said “wait this isn’t mine,” and that it was a premature statement. It was not his response to the child porn reference.
Following Mallory’s testimony, the defense rested its case and closing arguments are expected today.