The celebrity gossip world — and now legal authorities — are abuzz over a recent scandalous photograph of teen star Miley Cyrus that blogger Perez Hilton posted on his website.
The photo, which Hilton also distributed on Twitter, contained the caption “If you are easily offended, do NOT click here…Oh, Miley! Warning: truly not for the easily offended!”
But the warning did not deter the truly curious. Upon clicking the link, thousands of viewers were met with a view of Cyrus’ skirt as she stepped out of a car. The 17-year-old singer/actress was not wearing any underwear.
Now Hilton may face criminal charges for distribution of child pornography.
“What’s interesting and complicated about this case is that he published it on his blog,” Washington D.C. defense attorney Matt Kaiser told the Daily Caller. “Any jurisdiction has access to it.”
Although any case against Hilton would depend on exactly how lewd and explicit the photograph was, according to Kaiser, the tipping point is the fact that Cyrus is still a minor.
“When it comes to child pornography, the only real question is if the person is underage,” said Kaiser. “If someone really wanted to prosecute, they could. It’s the kind of thing a U.S. attorney interested in making a name for himself would do.”
A spokesperson for the Los Angeles Police Department told the Daily Caller that he knows of no investigation underway so far.
“In general, of course [Hilton] could be prosecuted if charges are filed,” the spokesperson said.
Although Hilton did not return requests from the Daily Caller to comment, he did post a video on his blog apologizing for the photo. He also denied it was explicit in nature.
“Do you think I’m stupid enough to post a photo of Miley if she’s not wearing any underwear down there?” said Hilton. “No! Sure I like to seem controversial, but I don’t want to go to jail.”
At this point, it does not seem likely that Hilton will face criminal charges. However, according to Kaiser, prosecutors would most likely be successful if they chose to move ahead.
“If they can successfully show distribution – which should be pretty easy – that’s a five year minimum sentence,” said Kaiser. “If they can prove production, that would be 15 years.”