The former director of the Highland County tourism bureau faces a federal trial Aug. 7 on child pornography charges.
U.S. District Judge Susan Dlott confirmed the trial date for Robert Lambert at a hearing last week in Cincinnati, the Associated Press reported over the weekend. She earlier denied a motion to continue the case from his attorneys, who said they needed more time to prepare.
Court documents indicate there have been plea negotiations. Lambert has pleaded not guilty.
He was indicted on four federal charges after his arrest nearly a year ago in Hillsboro, charges involving sexual material depicting minors. Lambert was fired from the tourism bureau after his arrest.
As previously reported by The Times-Gazette, Lambert was indicted last September by a federal grand jury on two counts of producing or attempting to produce child pornography, and one count each of possession of child pornography and distribution of child pornography.
The indictments against Lambert say that between June 1 and June 25, 2016, Lambert “did knowingly employ, use, persuade, induce, entice and coerce a minor… to engage in sexually explicit conduct… for the purpose of producing a visual depiction of such conduct… which visual depiction was produced using materials that had been mailed, shipped and transported in and affecting interstate and foreign commerce by any means, including by computer.”
A separate indictment states that Lambert possessed pornographic material involving a minor “who had not attained 12 years of age…”
Lambert was arrested at his Hillsboro home on Aug. 9 of last year after the Hillsboro Police Department received information regarding “criminal activity involving sexual acts with minors at a residence in the 400 block of East Main Street,” according to a press release at the time from HPD. “During this investigation officers received information that led to a search warrant being served” at Lambert’s residence, police said.
Police took various electronic devices and other items after executing the search warrant and placing Lambert under arrest. Lambert was dismissed immediately from his job with the travel and tourism bureau.
Police had originally charged Lambert with second-degree felony illegal use of a minor in nudity oriented material or performance, and fifth-degree felony pandering obscenity with a minor, according to court records. The local charges were dropped after Lambert was indicted by the federal grand jury.
After originally being held at the Highland County Justice Center on $50,000 bond, Lambert appeared for a detention hearing and arraignment last October in Cincinnati. He was granted OR bond in October with the condition of 24-hour monitored home incarceration, according to court records. He entered pleas of not guilty to the four counts against him. He is believed to be staying at a residence in the Cincinnati area.