REDWOOD CITY -- The former San Mateo County probation department boss facing child pornography charges had the images on his work computer as part of his job, his attorney said Tuesday.
After a hearing where Stuart Forrest, 61, confirmed a July 15 trial in San Mateo County Superior Court, his attorney said he had doubts the 150 images actually constitute child pornography.
"If there was anything there he had a legitimate work-related purpose," defense lawyer Jaime Leanos said. "(Investigators) rushed to judgment."
He added state rules allow law enforcement agents to have child pornography as part of their official duties, which in Forrest's case included supervising sex offenders.
The attorney general's office, which is handling the case, declined to comment on Leanos' claims. State prosecutors, as opposed to local ones, have the case in order to avoid potential conflicts of interest. Forrest worked for the probation department since 1977 and became its top boss in 2009.
Forrest retired late last year amid the investigation into the child porn allegations. He's charged with two counts of possessing child pornography and remains out of jail on $100,000 bail.
Leanos and deputy attorney general Johnette Jauron continued to set schedules and make arrangements Tuesday for the trial before retired Santa Cruz County Superior Court Judge Robert Atack. There was no word on whether Forrest would take a plea deal.
However, Atack previously has said he would be "hard-pressed" to send Forrest to prison with the evidence he's seen. Jauron also previously told the judge she would consider dropping one of the charges as part of deal.
Forrest faces a maximum of three years and eight months behind bars if convicted of the charges.
He is due back in court July 9.
Contact Joshua Melvin at 650-348-4335. Follow him at Twitter.com/melvinreport.