Ex-KNBC News Producer Charged with Distribution of Child Pornography

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LOS ANGELES (CNS) - A former Los Angeles television news producer was indicted Thursday on federal charges alleging he distributed more than 100 videos and images of child pornography in an online chat room.

Phil Drechsler, 60, of Santa Clarita, who worked for KNBC-TV until he departed in February, allegedly shared more than 117 videos, nine images and other types of files depicting child pornography between August 2020 and June 2021, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Prosecutors said Drechsler was arrested last month in Cincinnati and ordered detained by a magistrate judge. He is currently being brought back to Los Angeles to face charges, officials said.

A Los Angeles federal grand jury returned the indictment Thursday on three counts of distribution of child pornography. The charge carries a mandatory minimum sentence of five years imprisonment with a possible maximum of up to 20 years, prosecutors noted.

According to an affidavit filed with a criminal complaint April 18 in Los Angeles federal court, Drechsler, using the alias "Karen Flores," was a member of an online community of people who regularly sent and received child pornography via a group chat.

Authorities executing a search warrant last month at Drechsler's home allegedly found what appeared to be child sexual abuse material in the recently deleted photo album folder of his cell phone, according to the affidavit signed by FBI Special Agent Chelsea Malone.

Drechsler's wife told investigators that her husband had driven to Ohio the previous week, taking his shotgun and two pistols with him, Malone wrote.

The woman stated that Drechsler had left the majority of his belongings behind and told his wife to donate them, and that he did not intend to return home, the document says.

Drechsler had apparently told his wife that he "had nothing to live for and that he wanted to kill himself," according to the affidavit.

Drechsler tweeted in February that he had been laid off from KNBC. He had apparently worked at the station for 11 years.

"Short story: I was offered a buyout, turned it down, was laid off with all the provisions of the buy out," he tweeted. "I'll skip the long story."

He also posted: "I still feel young. Let's see what the next chapter brings."

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