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Could Miley Cyrus Pic Land Perez Hilton in Jail?

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Ronda Kaysen: Perez Hilton, the infamous Hollywood gossip king, made a name for himself by publishing crotch shots of scantily dressed celebrities and covering their faces with Microsoft Paint "bodily fluid" and expletives. But this weekend, his actions may have crossed the line from crude to criminal.

Perez Hilton

On Sunday, a missive sent via his Twitter account included a link to a picture of Miley Cyrus' exposed crotch. What makes Miley's crotch different from Britney Spears' is her tender age. At 17, Miley is still very much a minor, and posting a photo of her labia on the Internet is child pornography -- a charge that carries with it a 15-year mandatory minimum sentence, even for someone named Perez Hilton.

Salon got the skinny on Hilton's situation from Jeffrey Douglas, a Los Angeles-based criminal defense attorney who specializes in child pornography cases. The short answer? It doesn't look pretty for Hilton. 

Hilton's liability is "extraordinary and intense," Douglas told Salon. "[It was] suicidal for him to do this .... We're not talking about a misdemeanor. You don't have to know what the definition of the law is; all you have to do is knowingly distribute the photograph."

So what, exactly, was in the scandalous Twitter post? It read, "If you are easily offended, do NOT click here Oh, Miley! Warning: truly not for the easily offended!" The link, which is long gone, showed a picture of Miley hopping out of a car in a short white skirt with, presumably, her nether parts on view for all to see. A link to a censored version of the picture is still online.

There's been speculation that the photo was doctored, that Miley had actually been wearing panties and that the crotch in question was a Photoshop creation. But that doesn't matter, according to Douglas. Even pasting a picture of a child's head on a naked grown-up body is considered child porn. And it doesn't matter whether you took the picture or never even had it in your possession: Forwarding a link is enough to get you in serious trouble with the law.

So what's likely to happen to Hilton? A zealous prosecutor could pick up the case and slap him with a felony charge, which would land him in jail for 15 years and put him on the registered-sex-offender list for life. The other possibility is that nothing will happen to him at all. If a prosecutor doesn't want to get himself entangled in a media circus, he won't.

But one thing is certain: Perez Hilton definitely went too far this time, and his mission to shock has taken him into treacherous waters.

The Internet child porn laws are over-the-top, what with kids getting charged as sex offenders for sexting other kids and parents getting arrested for taking pictures of their little ones in the tub. But Perez Hilton knows that Miley is a minor, and he's presumably schooled in the laws of the Internet (or at least he should be, since it's his livelihood). 

UPDATE: Perez says Miley was wearing underwear. Check out his video response here:

What do you think? Should they throw the book at Perez Hilton, or is this just making a mountain out of a molehill?

next: How to Keep Your Man from Cheating
124 comments so far | Post a comment now
Anonymous June 15, 2010, 12:21 PM

She had underwear or some type of shorts on. It wasn’t her vajaja and people are making a mountain out of a moll hill. She’s worn less out in public

Shannon June 15, 2010, 12:45 PM

Perez video response! Momlogic get your facts straight!!!

Roberta June 15, 2010, 1:11 PM

They should throw the book at him. Just because he makes money from celebrity shenanigans, doesn’t absolve him from the law. If you or I did this, we’d be sitting in jail.

michelle June 16, 2010, 9:25 AM

So how is an upskirt shot somehow better if she was wearing underwear? Maybe it’s not a prosecutable crime anymore, but the point is still to victimize and shame her. People who take upskirt shots of non-famous women in the subway get arrested for it. Perez Hilton is a sexist bullying dbag and always has been.

Nicole June 16, 2010, 1:02 PM

I would have to agree with Michelle. Whether she’s wearing underwear or not, why are photog’s taking up-skirt shots? Why are they taking them of celebrities period? I’m sorry, but sometimes getting out of a car or a chair is not graceful, no matter what the length of your skirt or shorts is. It’s a fact of life. The paparazzi should not be cashing in on these unfortunate mishaps (disclosure - I know some girls “mishaps” are a bit more scandalous or staged than others, but it’s still wrong).

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