Tauss leaves Pirate Party after child pornography conviction
Former parliamentarian Jörg Tauss, the most prominent member of the German Pirate Party, has resigned from the party following his conviction for possessing child pornography last week.
Two days after the Karlsruhe district court handed the 56-year-old a 15-month suspended sentence, Tauss said on Sunday that he would leave the party to avoid damaging its reputation, saying his presence would be “counterproductive.”
“We must be able to discuss our issues at our information stands and should not allow ourselves to be crippled by the ‘Tauss debate.’ For this reason I declare my exit from the party,” the politician said Sunday on his blog, insisting he would still support the party.
Prosecutors convinced the judges that Tauss had illegally possessed some 260 photos and 40 video clips containing child pornography between May 2007 and January 2009. The court also found that Tauss had sent five such photos and videos from his mobile phone during that time.
The defence did not deny Tauss possessed the illegal material, alleging instead he’d had it for work-related purposes for research about the scene. But the court found he had used it for personal interests.
The suspended sentence means that Tauss will serve no time in prison, but will have a criminal record. Tauss said he would appeal.
In September 2009 the Bundestag annulled Tauss’ parliamentary immunity, clearing the way for prosecutors to press charges.
After the scandal broke, Tauss’ lawyer criticised state prosecutors for staging a “public execution.”
After the investigation against him began, Tauss left the centre-left Social Democratic Party, for which he has been an MP since 1994. He then became the first and only member of the Pirate Party in the Bundestag until the general election last September.
The Pirate Party in Germany sees itself as representing those in the information technology community, campaigning for privacy protection as well as the loosening of copyright laws.
Following the verdict on Friday a party spokesman told The Local that the decision of whether to leave the party was up to Tauss.