HERMAN JACOB SPIELMAN
DR QUACK, THE TRAFFICKER, PROCURER AND INTERNATIONAL PORNOGRAPHER
PAEDOPHILE INFORMATION EXCHANGE MEMBER
In the latter half of 1978, three trials took place involving a ‘Mr Spielman’. One of those trials involved a man named Richard Maurice Clive Bigham, or to give him his correct title, Master of Nairn, Viscount Mersey. Whilst Bigham’s name hit the headlines, Spielman seems to have flown under the radar yet seemed to play a very large role in child exploitation and abuse. Piecing together information obtained from numerous articles and records, I aim to provide as much detail as I can on Spielman and those connected to his sordid activities – especially an equally depraved individual, Eric Cross, who seemed to have connections to the Civil Service. I have only scratched the surface of this particular strand but I believe it to be worthy of further investigation – especially those connected to Westminster and the Civil Service.
Although I won’t go into the specific details of abuse, I will give a trigger warning as some people may find this blog upsetting.
Herman Jacob Spielman was born in 1921. A Jewish refugee from Germany, he settled in Manchester with his wife and six children, living in Stanley Road, Salford. His profession was described as a ‘printer’ and he had a business – Watling Press – in Corporation Street, Manchester. But beneath the facade was an international trafficker, procurer and pornographer, who took indecent images of small children and was also a member of the Paedophile Information Exchange.
Spielman’s sordid secret life was, in part, uncovered by accident when one of his employees opened a cupboard and a ton of explicit photographs of young children tumbled out, but it was an arrest of a man named Eric Cross across the Atlantic for child sexual exploitation that blew Spielman’s activities wide open. During Cross’s police interviews he named Spielman as an associate (whom he knew as ‘Fred Watling‘ of Watling Press.) Cross would advertise in magazines and newsagents windows and refer clients to Spielman, who would then drive them to different homes in Manchester where they could abuse little girls for a premium price and he would take photographs. Detectives uncovered a network of child prostitution across the world, including Britain, Europe, America, Australia and the Far East. Cross, as it turns out, was originally from the UK and a major player, and I have given a brief overview about him towards the end.
For a few pound, chocolates and sweets, Spielman had groomed and coerced young children into his web of depravity and used his connections overseas to make large sums of money out of them, with mothers that were complicit and happy to sell their children into his web of abuse.
- Dr John
- Dr Quack
- Fred Watling
- Mr Johnson
TRIAL ONE – JULY 1978 – MANCHESTER CROWN COURT
On 19th July 1978, Spielman was named in court as having been involved in the procurement of two little girls for Richard Maurice Clive Bigham. Spielman, for some inexplicable reason, did not appear at the trial despite having a major role in the disgusting affair.
The case involved mother of three, Victoria Hughes, 39, who was described as a ‘simple-minded’ self-employed hairdresser of Delft Walk, Salford. In fact, Hughes was a prostitute who had a number of previous convictions.
RICHARD MAURICE CLIVE BIGHAM
Bigham, who described himself as “a documentary film technician, interested in paedophilia on a photographic level only” was the eldest son of Viscount Mersey, whose title he inherited following his father’s death on 1st August 1979. He married Joanna Murray at Christ Church, Hampstead, in 1961 and they lived with their children at 1 Rosmead Road in Notting Hill.
Despite his membership of PIE, conviction for child abuse and admission of his sexual attraction to children, just a year later he was able to sit in the House of Lords, where he continued to be active until 1999. Yet another paedophile connected to Westminster.
Spielman had placed an advertisement in ‘a child porn magazine’, Lolita, offering the sexual services of children. Having responding to this ad, on 6th October 1977 Bigham took a train from his home in London to Manchester’s Piccadilly Station, where he had arranged to meet Spielman who was going to introduce him to “child prostitutes.” They headed to the home of an associate of Spielman – Victoria Hughes.
Spielman had originally met Hughes after she had advertised in two contact magazines as “Lady wishes to meet gents.” Hughes said of Spielman (whom she knew as ‘Mr Johnson’ and whom her children knew as ‘Dr John’), “He is fetish. I used to cane him.”
Before entering Hughes’s home, Bigham handed Spielman the £70 fee as well as £4 for two boxes of chocolates to give to the children. He was then introduced to Hughes’s two young daughters, aged just six and ten. They headed upstairs where Bigham abused the older child whilst Spielman photographed the abuse.
During the trial Bigham admitted that he had previously abused a child, stating: “My sexual attraction to children had been through photographs. Having had a real sexual experience with a child, and finding it confusing and later horrible, I suppose I was trying to climb back on my fantasy bandwagon of photographs. I was revolted.” He also told the court that he thought his actions were lawful because it was with parental consent.
The sordid events only came to light because police were following Spielman having received information from Los Angeles police, who had arrested Eric Cross. (See below.) It’s not known for how long the surveillance had been going on, but a number of Playland trials had taken place in the few years beforehand, and we now know that PIE members were closely connected to some of the firm at Playland, according to Anthony Daly’s book, which I covered here. Both Bigham and Spielman were members of PIE and Anthony recalls seeing them both at a meeting in London.
The court heard how Woman Det Sgt Reay Barker followed Spielman’s van from the station to Hughes’s home, where the two men spent 38 minutes and during which time Hughes never left the property. Four days later, Det Sgt Barker executed a search warrant at Hughes’s home looking for obscene photographs. During her interview, Hughes claimed the men had been visiting in a social capacity and denied any knowledge of photographs having been taken, although Det Sgt Barker claimed she was paid £10 for allowing her two young daughters to be abused. However, three local shopkeepers claimed that Hughes had visited their shops at the time police claimed she was home.
During the trial it was claimed that Hughes had received threats which the judge warned were in contempt of court. She also complained that she had to pay for her children who had been taken into care even though “I did not put them there.”
Hughes’s ten-year old daughter bravely gave evidence in which she detailed what had happened with Bigham and Spielman. She also described how she had been taken to a “posh house” in Holland, where they had stayed for two days and where there had been “cameras and lights.” (Who owned this house?) Her young brother also gave similar evidence. According to her children, at some point Hughes had taken them to Rotterdam where they were filmed “in grotesque sexual activity” with several people. Hughes had been paid £100 plus expenses for the use of her children whom she professed to the court that she loved.
- Victoria Hughes was jailed for four years. Mr Justice Forbes said Hughes had supplied her children to be used in an… “abominable way. That would be bad enough if they were just children, but they were your own. It seems different for me to imagine a worse case of indecent assault on a small girl than that in which a mother provides the child for that purpose.” Hughes subsequently lost her husband, her children and her home.
- Herman Spielman was sentenced to six years in prison for possessing and publishing obscene photographs, indecently assaulting a 10-year old girl and inciting the girl to an act of gross indecency with Bigham. The judge said that Spielman “had provided children so that men could act out their perversions” and who “started an international traffick in child pornography.”
- Richard Bigham, who had actively abused the child and who was tried separately earlier in the month with no press coverage, was given a 12-month suspended sentence after admitting assault and gross indecency. The following year he entered the House of Lords, where he remained until 1999.
TRIAL TWO – SEPTEMBER 1978 – NOTTINGHAM CROWN COURT
In September 1978, Spielman was once again named in court during a trial which involved a woman alleged to have supplied a young girl to paedophiles.
Iris Ingham, 42, of Wrenbury Avenue, Withington, Manchester was cleared of all charges after the 12-year old girl – who was the central witness to the case – became upset and despite two adjournments, refused to give evidence.
The court heard how Ingham had sold the ‘sexual services’ of the girl to a man known as “Dr Quack” (AKA Herman Spielman.) She had invited Spielman to her home a number of times between 1976-77 for the purpose of making indecent images of the girl and abusing her in return for money. On one occasion she had allowed Spielman to undertake a physical examination of the girl despite him having no medical qualifications.
Spielman was already in prison following his conviction at the earlier case.
Both Hughes and Spielman appealed against their sentences in 1980, but lost. You can read the judgement on the Cathy Fox blog.
Eric Mervyn Harold Cross was a stereotypical married man and father of two from Whittlebury near Towcester, with a respectable facade as company director and school principal at Whittlebury School. But in 1966 Cross was imprisoned and his wife left him, taking their children with her. Cross headed over the Atlantic where he became a central figure in a huge international pornography and child trafficking ring. Piecing together information I can find, here is his timeline:
- 1966: Declared bankrupt in The Gazette, and stated as serving time in HMP Bedford.
- 1969: Discharged in The Gazette.
- George Green, a former general secretary of the Civil Service Clerical Association, claimed he was duped into becoming Cross’s London agent. Green told the Mirror that he would initially forward mail to an address is Hove, Sussex, but that following telephone calls, this changed to locations in Amsterdam and The Hague.
- 1974: Detectives from Scotland Yard arrested Cross who was to answer charges of rape and indecent assault on children in Florida. He was extradited to the US, found guilty and sent to Florida State Mental Hospital. Despite receiving letters from Cross with an ‘Osceola County Jail’ postmark, Green agreed to continue forwarding his mail thinking it a bit odd.
- 1975: Having somehow evaded both Florida police and customs officials, Cross was then able to travel back to the UK, where he turned up at Green’s civil service London office in Balham High Road, London, and gave a new forwarding address in Tallahassee, Florida.
- 1975: Robert Carter Lodge, a married school teacher from Seattle, answered an advertisement by a mail order company owned by Cross called Cine International (which dealt with the making and distribution of indecent images of children.) Their friendship grew over their mutual disgusting perversions.
- 1976: Green stopped forwarding letters on to Cross due to an unpaid bill.
- 1978: Whilst Cross awaited trial in a Los Angeles jail and following information forwarded from US police to Scotland Yard, a large international investigation had begun into the trafficking of children and making of indecent images, and a number of British children were taken into care. During questioning, Cross claimed that he had been working with Fred Watling (AKA Herman Spielman) in the UK, and also handed over a dossier that contained details of UK mothers who allowed their children to be abused for the international network.
- 1978: After responding to a lonely hearts ad, 38-year old divorcee, Mrs B, of Guildford, Surrey, took her two little girls and travelled to Florida having been groomed by Cross for over a year into believing they had a future together. She arrived just as he was sentenced to 28-years imprisonment for ‘lewd conduct involving two young girls.’
- 1978: Cross and Lodge decided to join forces to produce and market indecent images of children. Cross would arrange opportunities for Lodge to take photographs of children and Lodge would then develop the images. (Although one such plan failed after the mother of the children involved mistakenly mentioned the plans to Lodge’s wife.)
- 1979: Through his attorney Raymond Cramer, Cross offered to assist the Florida Department of Law Enforcement in their investigations into child pornography.
- 1980: Cross met with Department agent Michael Brick to discuss how he could assist, but no agreement was reached.
- 1980: Later that year, Department agent George Syring (who had taken over from Brick) and US Postal Inspector, Ted Griem, met with Cross and asked him to correspond with four magazine advertisers. Cross asked for immunity but this was never forthcoming.
- 1980: Cross once again recruited Lodge in a scheme involving sending obscene material through the post. With the assistance of another paedophile – Elmer Donald Woodward – Lodge would develop negatives that Woodward supplied.
- 1981: Cross, Lodge and a new female recruit – Ruksana Diwan, 26, from Zanzibar but who lived in St Petersburg, Florida – created a false company – Viewfinder, Inc – that duped the parents of child models into thinking Cross was an independent movie producer who required images of children who he wished to cast for a documentary entitled ‘Susan’s Magical Carpet.’ They contacted ‘Dot Burns Talent Agency’ in Tampa and asked for young girls between eight and twelve-years. In order to deflect attention away from the fact Cross was in prison, Diwan arranged conference calls on his behalf, and forwarded his mail.
- 1982-3: Having contacted unknowing photographer Dean Cason, shots were taken of the girls with promises that they wouldn’t be copied and would be forwarded to the parents in due course. The negatives were sent over to Lodge to develop so that they could be sold and Diwan delivered copies to Cross.
- 1983: A search of Lodge’s home unearthed photographs and negatives that had been supplied by Woodward, as well as photographs of children provided by the talent agency.
- 1986: During the trial, Cross represented himself and called several law enforcement officers and prisoners to testify that he had planned this scheme because he was working as a police informant. Two character witnesses (one a fellow prisoner) testified on his behalf. The court also heard how the images were also connected to Europe and, incredibly, not only had Cross and Lodge never actually met in person, Lodge claimed not to know that Cross was serving time in prison. Cross was sentenced to 95 years and Lodge received a four-year prison sentence.
- 1986: Although Diwan was due to stand trial alongside Cross and Lodge, on the eve of the trial she fled to England where she applied for asylum. She was taken into custody by authorities in Liverpool. Before leaving Florida, she left a letter for Cross which was delivered in court by a former prison mate of Cross, Gilbert Knerr, who claimed he sometimes received mail for Cross.
- Woodward was serving time in a Californian prison for sex offences against four children at the time of the trial.
- 1987: Diwan was extradited from England back to the US, where she pled guilty and was sentenced to 10-years imprisonment, fined and ordered to be deported. By this point she claimed to have married Cross.
- 1989: Diwan lodged an appeal.
- 1991: During his appeal, Cross maintained that during his trial he had wished to call his daughter as a witness but didn’t know her exact location – only that she lived in Canada. He wanted her to testify that during the 1950s and 1960s, he had been a legitimate film producer.
United States of America, Plaintiff-appellee, v. Mervyn Harold Cross A/k/a Eric Cross, and Robert Carter Lodge, Defendants-appellants, 928 F.2d 1030 (11th Cir. 1991)
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit – 928 F.2d 1030 (11th Cir. 1991)
April 16, 1991
Catherine McWilliam-Rinaldo, Tampa, Fla., for Lodge.
Terrance Bostic, Marie Tomassi, Tampa, Fla., for Cross.
Fran Carpini, Asst. U.S. Atty., Tampa, Fla., Karen Skrivseth, Attorney, Crim. Div., U.S. Dept. of Justice, Washington, D.C., for U.S.
Appeals from the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida.
Before FAY and KRAVITCH, Circuit Judges, and THOMPSON* , District Judge.
MYRON H. THOMPSON, District Judge:
Appellants Mervyn Harold Cross and Robert Carter Lodge were each indicted in November 1984 by a federal grand jury in Tampa, Florida, on one count of conspiracy to persuade a minor to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing visual or print media, 18 U.S.C.A. Secs. 371 (1966) and 2251 (1982); one count of mailing obscene material, 18 U.S.C.A. Sec. 1461 (1984); and 18 counts of mail fraud, 18 U.S.C.A. Sec. 1341 (1984). After a jury trial, Cross was convicted on all counts with the exception of one count of mail fraud, and Lodge was found guilty on only the conspiracy charge.
The evidence at trial showed that between 1980 and 1983, Cross and Lodge, together with co-defendant Ruksana Diwan, conspired to exploit children sexually in order to produce and sell child pornography.1 Cross, while a prison inmate in Florida, orchestrated a fraudulent scheme to obtain nude photos of child models from the Tampa, Florida area by falsely portraying himself as a film producer and misrepresenting that the pictures were necessary for casting decisions for a legitimate educational documentary. Lodge, who, like Cross, was a pedophile interested in pre-adolescent girls, used a lab in his Seattle, Washington home to develop these pictures as well as obscene photos of two California children which Cross arranged for him to receive in the mail. Diwan assisted by placing telephone calls, directing mail, and serving as a Florida contact for Cross.
Cross and Lodge have appealed their convictions on a multitude of grounds: co-conspirator hearsay, immunity, denial of a continuance, prosecutorial misconduct, sufficiency of the evidence, improper jury instructions, unduly prejudicial evidence, recanted testimony, a false search warrant affidavit, and refusal to sever.2 We now affirm.3 BACKGROUND
Cross and Lodge began their association in 1975 when Lodge responded to an advertisement by Cross’s mail order company, “Cine International,” offering “erotic” photographs of children. Cross and Lodge soon started to exchange such pictures and share accounts of their sexual experiences with children. In 1978, the two men, through letters and phone calls, began to discuss a series of proposed ventures for producing and marketing child pornography. Cross offered to arrange several opportunities for Lodge to take sexually explicit photos of pre-adolescent girls. In return, Lodge would process the film and send the pictures to Cross, who would sell the photos and share the profits with Lodge. Lodge expressed to Cross his interest in several of these ventures and at least one such photo session was arranged but had to be cancelled at the last minute when a woman, whose two young daughters Lodge had intended to pay to pose nude, telephoned Lodge’s home and mistakenly mentioned the plan to Lodge’s wife.
In 1980, Cross recruited Lodge for a scheme that involved sending obscene materials through the mail. Several years earlier, Cross had begun communicating with Elmer Donald Woodward concerning “their mutual interest in child pornography.”4 On several occasions, Woodward mailed to Cross the negatives of obscene photographs of a seven-year old California girl and her younger brother. Cross indicated to Woodward that Lodge could develop the pictures for a reasonable fee, and offered to pay for the film processing himself if he also could receive a set of prints. Cross subsequently arranged for his attorney to mail the Woodward negatives to Lodge. Both the negatives and black and white prints of the photos were later discovered during a search of Lodge’s home in May 1983.
In 1981, Cross and Lodge, this time with Diwan’s assistance, initiated a new attempt to obtain nude photographs of children and market them as child pornography by means of an elaborate confidence game in which the parents of child models in the Tampa, Florida area were misled into believing that Cross was an independent movie producer who required such pictures in order to make casting decisions for a new film.5 Using a dummy corporation as a front, Cross contacted a Tampa talent agency, and requested and received composite photographs and resumes of actresses between the ages of eight and twelve.6 Cross informed the head of the agency that he was looking for a young girl to star in an educational documentary he was producing, and indicated that because it might involve some nudity, the agency should inform him as to which children did not suffer from “modesty problems.”7
Cross contacted the parents of several of the agency’s models,8 and later enlisted a professional photographer in Tampa to take “casting” pictures of these young girls.9 Cross instructed the photographer to shoot several nude photos of the girls, allegedly in order to gauge their reactions to being filmed in the nude, and to determine whether the models were too physically developed to play the role of a young child. Cross further directed the photographer to provide him with full frontal nude pictures in the form of color transparencies three times the size of normal slides.10 Like the talent agency, both the photographer and the girls’ parents were told by Cross that the photo sessions were necessary because the film would include scenes in certain locations where native people routinely wore little or no clothing. Cross also assured them that these photos would not be reproduced and would be returned to the parents.
However, soon after receiving the transparencies, Cross mailed them to Lodge to be processed and enlarged so they would be suitable for sale. Lodge developed and sent to Cross slides from some of these transparencies, but indicated that several of the other pictures would need to be retaken because of their inferior quality.11 When Lodge’s house was searched in May 1983, police discovered a negative strip containing a sequence of nude, black and white photos of one of the Tampa girls.12 In addition, the strip contained versions of these photos that Lodge had cropped to highlight the girl’s nude torso, followed by closeup photographs of adult female genitalia which he had added.
Neither Cross nor Lodge testified at trial. Cross, who represented himself, called several law enforcement officers and fellow prisoners to testify, in an attempt to show that he had planned and engaged in these various child pornography schemes in the course of acting as a police informant. Two character witnesses testified on Lodge’s behalf.
Lodge contends that he was deprived of his right to a fair trial as a result of being tried jointly with his co-defendant Cross. Lodge argues that the district court erred in summarily denying his pre-trial motions for severance, and that he was unfairly prejudiced by a joint trial.13 He advances three grounds in support of this claim of error: (1) that Cross would have provided exculpatory testimony on Lodge’s behalf had their cases been severed, (2) that Lodge’s and Cross’s defenses at trial were antagonistic, and (3) that Cross’s behavior during the trial and evidence introduced solely against him had a prejudicial spillover effect on the jury’s determination of Lodge’s guilt.
As a general rule, defendants who have been jointly indicted should be tried together, particularly in conspiracy cases. United States v. Castillo-Valencia, 917 F.2d 494, 498 (11th Cir. 1990). The decision whether to grant a severance is committed to the sound discretion of the trial court and can only be overturned for an abuse of such discretion. United States v. Rucker, 915 F.2d 1511, 1512 (11th Cir. 1990) (per curiam). In considering a motion for severance under Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 14, a district judge is required to balance the prejudice that a defendant may suffer from a joint trial, against the public’s interest in judicial economy and efficiency. In order to establish that a refusal to sever constituted an abuse of discretion, an appellant must demonstrate that he “suffered compelling prejudice against which the trial court was unable to afford protection.” United States v. Riola, 694 F.2d 670, 672 (11th Cir.), cert. denied, 460 U.S. 1073, 103 S. Ct. 1532, 75 L. Ed. 2d 953 (1983). Guided by these principles, the court considers each of Lodge’s separate theories.
Lodge argued to the district court in his motions for severance that if he and Cross were tried separately, Cross would provide exculpatory testimony on Lodge’s behalf. In support of this contention, Lodge submitted an affidavit from Cross, in which Cross promised to testify “if I can do so without exposing myself to criminal jeopardy in [this] case,” and described his proposed testimony. In his affidavit, Cross stated that Lodge had neither known of nor participated in the Tampa photo arrangements, but had “inadvertently” been mailed these photographs; that he and Lodge had otherwise never exchanged child pornography but only “naturist photographs” of the kind found in “nudist magazines;” and that he had communicated with Lodge as a police informant surreptitiously seeking information about illegal activities. Lodge now contends that Cross’s testimony could have refuted the government’s conspiracy charge against him.14
In order to warrant severance based on a co-defendant’s potential testimony, an accused must first show: “(1) a bona fide need for the testimony; (2) the substance of the desired testimony; (3) the exculpatory nature and effect of the desired testimony; and (4) that the codefendant would indeed … testif [y] at a separate trial.” United States v. Funt, 896 F.2d 1288, 1297 (11th Cir. 1990). If the defendant satisfies these threshold requirements, the trial judge then must “(1) examine the significance of the testimony in relation to the defendant’s theory of the case; (2) assess the extent of prejudice caused by the absence of the testimony; (3) consider judicial administration and economy; and (4) give weight to the timeliness of the motion.” Id.
We are not persuaded as to the exculpatory nature or effect of Cross’s proposed testimony. The affidavit consisted of little more than bare conclusory assertions of Lodge’s lack of involvement, and contained no clear indication of any “specific and exonerative facts” to which Cross would have testified. United States v. Pepe, 747 F.2d 632, 651 (11th Cir. 1984). See also United States v. Johnson, 713 F.2d 633, 641 (11th Cir. 1983), cert. denied, 465 U.S. 1081, 104 S. Ct. 1447, 79 L. Ed. 2d 766 (1984). Furthermore, Cross’s proffered testimony was entirely self-serving in light of its emphasis on his own defense theory that he was acting as a police informant, and was contradicted by the extensive evidence of Lodge’s considerable involvement in the Tampa photo scheme which was introduced at trial. For these reasons, Cross’s affidavit lacked any substantial credibility. Therefore, the exculpatory value of his proposed testimony would have been trivial, and Lodge’s defense did not suffer harm, let alone compelling prejudice, as a result of Cross’s unavailability. See Pepe, 747 F.2d at 651; Johnson, 713 F.2d at 641; United States v. Metz, 608 F.2d 147, 156 (5th Cir. 1979), cert. denied, 449 U.S. 821, 101 S. Ct. 80, 66 L. Ed. 2d 24 (1980).15 However, even if the court were persuaded that Cross’s testimony would have benefitted Lodge, we would still conclude that Lodge was not entitled to a severance on this basis. The trial in this case lasted approximately two months, and involved dozens of witnesses and hundreds of exhibits. As in Pepe, “the savings in time and resources produced by holding a joint trial in such a complex conspiracy case outweighed the possible benefit” Lodge might have “derived” from Cross’s testimony. Id., 747 F.2d at 651.16 See also Metz, 608 F.2d at 156. We conclude that the district court did not abuse its discretion in refusing to try Lodge and Cross separately on the basis of Cross’s alleged exculpatory testimony.17
A defendant is not entitled to a trial separate from that of his co-defendant simply because their defenses are prejudicial to one another. Rather, a trial court abuses its discretion in denying a severance only when the defenses advanced are “so antagonistic as to be irreconcilable or mutually exclusive.” United States v. Castillo-Valencia, 917 F.2d 494, 498 (11th Cir. 1990). Severance is compelled only “if the jury, in order to believe the core of testimony offered on behalf of one defendant, must necessarily disbelieve the testimony offered on behalf of his co-defendant.” United States v. Rucker, 915 F.2d 1511, 1513 (11th Cir. 1990) (per curiam), quoting United States v. Berkowitz, 662 F.2d 1127, 1134 (5th Cir. Unit B 1981).18 See also United States v. Caporale, 806 F.2d 1487, 1510 (11th Cir. 1986) (severance mandated only when “the jury will infer that both defendants are guilty solely because of the conflict” between their defenses), cert. denied, 482 U.S. 917, 107 S. Ct. 3191, 96 L. Ed. 2d 679 (1987). Lodge’s and Cross’s defenses at trial, however, were not so incompatible that the jury could not reasonably have decided on a version of events that accommodated both of their theories. See Castillo-Valencia, 917 F.2d at 498; United States v. Sawyer, 799 F.2d 1494, 1504 (11th Cir. 1986) (per curiam), cert. denied, 479 U.S. 1069, 107 S. Ct. 961, 93 L. Ed. 2d 1009 (1987). At trial, Lodge sought to undercut the government’s charge that he joined and participated in the Tampa photo conspiracy. In cross-examination and argument, Lodge’s counsel suggested to the jury that Lodge had not solicited these nude pictures from Cross, and never intended to prepare them for commercial distribution as child pornography. Cross’s defense, on the other hand, was that he communicated with Lodge as a police informer acting under a grant of immunity. The jury could have believed both stories–that Cross was secretly working for law enforcement, and that Lodge received the photos but never agreed to become a part of Cross’s scheme.19 This is not a case in which Cross’s defense was Lodge’s guilt. See Rucker, 915 F.2d at 1513; United States v. Magdaniel-Mora, 746 F.2d 715, 720 (11th Cir. 1984). Therefore, we also conclude that the trial court’s refusal to grant a severance on the basis of an antagonism between Cross’s and Lodge’s defenses was not an abuse of discretion.
Finally, Lodge claims that his conviction should be reversed because his joint trial with Cross created a prejudicial spillover effect on the jury’s determination of Lodge’s guilt. Lodge contends that Cross’s misbehavior as a pro se litigant and the government’s introduction of inflammatory evidence against Cross deprived Lodge of his right to a fair trial.20 We find that this theory, like Lodge’s other grounds for challenging the denial of severance, is without merit.
As the court has noted, denial of severance will be considered error where the defendant can demonstrate that he suffered “compelling prejudice” as a result of the spillover effects of being tried jointly with a co-defendant. The applicable test is whether it was “within the capacity of [the] jurors to follow [the] court’s limiting instructions and appraise the independent evidence against each defendant solely upon that defendant’s own acts, statements, and conduct.”21 United States v. Silien, 825 F.2d 320, 232 (11th Cir. 1987) (per curiam). In this case, the trial court specifically charged the jury that, “each offense and the evidence pertaining to it should be considered separately,” and that “the case of each defendant should be considered separately and individually.”22 See United States v. Pritchett, 908 F.2d 816, 822 (11th Cir. 1990); United States v. Garrett, 727 F.2d 1003, 1015 (11th Cir. 1984), aff’d, 471 U.S. 773, 105 S. Ct. 2407, 85 L. Ed. 2d 764 (1985). Indeed, the fact that the jury acquitted Lodge on a number of counts on which it convicted Cross confirms that the jurors “sifted the evidence and made individual determinations of guilt and innocence.” United States v. Khoury, 901 F.2d 948, 966 (11th Cir. 1990). See also United States v. Berkowitz, 662 F.2d 1127, 1135 (5th Cir. Unit B 1981). Moreover, Lodge fails to explain how any particular comment by, or testimony against, Cross was either adverse to Lodge or created a risk of conflating the jury’s determination of each defendant’s guilt.23 See United States v. LaChance, 817 F.2d 1491, 1497 (11th Cir.), cert. denied, 484 U.S. 928, 108 S. Ct. 295, 98 L. Ed. 2d 255 (1987). We are not persuaded that Lodge suffered contaminating prejudice as a result of his joint trial with Cross. The trial court’s refusal to sever was not an abuse of discretion on this or any of the other rationales advanced by Lodge.
Lodge also contends that the district court erred in failing to conduct a pretrial evidentiary hearing on his motion to suppress evidence seized during a search of his Seattle home in May 1983. At trial, Lodge argued that Detective Thomas Dittmar of the Seattle Police Department intentionally or recklessly included false information and misleadingly omitted material facts from his search warrant affidavit. The district court, however, found that even if the allegedly false or misleading statements were deleted or corrected, the affidavit was still sufficient to establish probable cause for the search of Lodge’s house. Relying on our independent weighing of the allegations in such a redacted affidavit, we too conclude that the Seattle judge who issued the search warrant had a “substantial basis” for finding that probable cause existed. See United States v. Sims, 845 F.2d 1564, 1571 (11th Cir.), cert. denied, 488 U.S. 957, 109 S. Ct. 395, 102 L. Ed. 2d 384 (1988); United States v. Kirk, 781 F.2d 1498, 1505 (11th Cir. 1986). We therefore find no error.
In Franks v. Delaware, 438 U.S. 154, 98 S. Ct. 2674, 57 L. Ed. 2d 667 (1978), the United States Supreme Court recognized the limited constitutional right of a criminal defendant to attack the veracity of a warrant affidavit.24 In order to merit an evidentiary hearing on such a claim, however, an accused must make a concrete, preliminary showing that: (1) the affiant deliberately or recklessly included false statements, or failed to include material information, in the affidavit; and (2) the misrepresentation was essential to the finding of probable cause. Id. at 171-72, 98 S. Ct. at 2684-85. Accord United States v. Jenkins, 901 F.2d 1075, 1080 (11th Cir.), cert. denied, — U.S. —-, 111 S. Ct. 259, 112 L. Ed. 2d 216 (1990).
In this case, Dittmar’s affidavit contained information that he received from William Dworin, a Los Angeles police detective who had corresponded with Lodge in the course of an undercover investigation of child pornography.25 In a then-recent letter to Dworin, Lodge had stated that he was “fairly active in photography,” had a collection of “15,000 to 20,000 negatives,” and had “contacts that may eventually lead to some good models.” Lodge had also indicated that he had “a fair amount of European material, but as you know acquisition has been difficult lately.” Lodge assured Dworin that it would be “safe” to send him “any mail of any type.” In addition to providing the Seattle detective with a copy of Lodge’s letter, Dworin also informed Dittmar that Lodge’s name had appeared on Cross’s mailing lists for child pornography when he arrested Cross several years earlier. Finally, Dittmar’s affidavit also contained certain information about Lodge’s involvement in the Tampa photo hoax. According to the affidavit, the source of this last material was a government official who, in turn, had learned of the conspiracy from Cross.
Lodge argues that the following “facts,” which he presented to the district court, constituted a “substantial preliminary showing,” mandating a pretrial hearing on his suppression motion: (1) Dittmar failed to contact Cross to verify Lodge’s involvement in the Tampa scheme; (2) Cross denied making the statements attributed to him in the affidavit; (3) Dittmar failed to disclose that such information actually came from several prisoners incarcerated with Cross, whose reliability was unproven; and (4) the affidavit did not describe or attach the letter from Dworin which elicited Lodge’s return correspondence.
We assume, as did the district court, that Cross has satisfied the first prong of Franks by alleging, in more than conclusory fashion, a deliberately or recklessly false statement or material omission from the affidavit. However, even if all the information attributed to Cross were removed and the letter from Dworin to Lodge were added, the redacted affidavit would still contain allegations sufficient to support a finding of probable cause. See Jenkins, 901 F.2d at 1080; Sims, 845 F.2d at 1571; United States v. Ofshe, 817 F.2d 1508, 1513 (11th Cir.), cert. denied, 484 U.S. 963, 108 S. Ct. 451, 98 L. Ed. 2d 391 (1987). Lodge’s letter, with its cryptic references to “European material,” “good models,” his huge collection of photographs, and the need for secrecy, could reasonably be read as a veiled discussion of child pornography.26 Such an interpretation is only supported by Dworin’s antecedent letter to Lodge,27 and by the fact that Lodge’s name had earlier appeared on Cross’s child pornography mailing list. In short, even if restricted to such information, the affidavit demonstrated “a fair probability that contraband or evidence of a crime [would] be found in” Lodge’s home. Illinois v. Gates, 462 U.S. 213, 238, 103 S. Ct. 2317, 2332, 76 L. Ed. 2d 527 (1983). See also Jenkins, 901 F.2d at 1080; United States v. Strauss, 678 F.2d 886, 892 (11th Cir.), cert. denied, 459 U.S. 911, 103 S. Ct. 218, 74 L. Ed. 2d 173 (1982). For this reason, we hold that Lodge was not entitled to an evidentiary hearing on his Franks motion.28
In his third and final claim of error, Lodge challenges his conviction of conspiracy to exploit a minor sexually, on the ground that the evidence introduced against him at trial was insufficient as a matter of law to sustain a guilty verdict on this charge. In evaluating the sufficiency of evidence, we must view the evidence and all reasonable inferences that may be drawn from it in the light most favorable to the government.29 Glasser v. United States, 315 U.S. 60, 80, 62 S. Ct. 457, 469, 86 L. Ed. 680 (1942); United States v. Diaz, 916 F.2d 655, 656 (11th Cir. 1990). The jury’s verdict must be upheld “if any reasonable construction of the evidence allowed the jury to find the appellants guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.” United States v. Obregon, 893 F.2d 1307, 1311 (11th Cir.), cert. denied, — U.S. —-, 110 S. Ct. 1833, 108 L. Ed. 2d 961 (1990). See also United States v. Vera, 701 F.2d 1349, 1357 (11th Cir. 1983) (“It is not necessary that the evidence exclude every reasonable hypothesis of innocence or be wholly inconsistent with every conclusion except that of guilt”).
Lodge was convicted, under the federal conspiracy statute, 18 U.S.C.A. Sec. 371 (1966), of conspiring with Cross and Diwan to sexually exploit children in violation of 18 U.S.C.A. Sec. 2251(a) (1982).30 This latter section, as it existed at the time of Lodge’s offense, applied to “any person who employs, uses, persuades, induces, entices, or coerces any minor to engage in any sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing any visual or print medium depicting such conduct … if such person knows or has reason to know that such visual or print medium will be … mailed, or if such visual or print medium has actually been … mailed.” 18 U.S.C.A. Sec. 2251(a) (1982).31 Lodge now contends that the evidence at trial failed to prove the elements of a conspiracy under Sec. 371. To support a conviction for conspiracy, the prosecution must prove that two or more persons agreed to commit a crime, that the defendant knew of the conspiracy, and that he voluntarily participated in helping to achieve its objective. United States v. Roper, 874 F.2d 782, 787 (11th Cir.), cert. denied, — U.S. —-, 110 S. Ct. 189, 107 L. Ed. 2d 144 (1989). An additional element, under Sec. 371, is an overt act committed by one of the co-conspirators in furtherance of the conspiracy. 18 U.S.C.A. Sec. 371 (1966); United States v. Hollifield, 870 F.2d 574, 577 (11th Cir. 1989) (per curiam). The existence of a conspiracy may be demonstrated by direct or circumstantial proof, including inferences from statements or conduct of the participants. United States v. Lignarolo, 770 F.2d 971, 978 n. 9 (11th Cir. 1985), cert. denied, 476 U.S. 1105, 106 S. Ct. 1948, 90 L. Ed. 2d 358 (1986). Similarly, the defendant’s knowledge of and membership in the conspiracy may be proven by acts on his part which furthered the goal of the conspiracy.32 United States v. Morales, 868 F.2d 1562, 1572 (11th Cir. 1989).
The evidence presented by the government amply demonstrated both the existence of, and Lodge’s knowing involvement in, a conspiracy with Cross and Diwan to produce and market child pornography. The correspondence between Cross, Lodge, and third parties, as well as altered versions of the Tampa photos found in Lodge’s home, make clear that Lodge knew of Cross’s and Diwan’s plan to deceive the models and their parents into providing nude pictures, and that Lodge actively participated in the scheme by processing and modifying these photos in order to render them suitable for commercial distribution. The proof at trial was more than adequate to support Lodge’s conviction.33
Cross also argues that the evidence at trial was legally insufficient as to the conspiracy charge of which he too was found guilty. Cross alleges not that the government failed to prove all the elements of a conspiracy; rather, he contends that his conviction should be reversed because the evidence did not demonstrate that the Tampa photos were obscene, or that he endeavored to produce them for pecuniary gain. However, the antecedent version of 18 U.S.C.A. Sec. 2251, which Cross was convicted of violating, did not require that either the “sexually explicit conduct” engaged in by the minor or the “visual or print medium” created from that conduct be obscene.34 See 18 U.S.C.A. Secs. 2251(a), 2253(2) (1982); New York v. Ferber, 458 U.S. 747, 762 n. 15, 102 S. Ct. 3348, 3357 n. 15, 73 L. Ed. 2d 1113 (1982); S.Rep. No. 438, 95th Cong., 2d Sess. 12-14, reprinted in 1978 U.S.Code Cong. & Ad.News 40, 49-52.35 Furthermore, while Cross is correct in pointing out that, prior to the 1984 amendments, an accused could not be convicted of violating Sec. 2251 absent proof that he produced the material in question for financial gain,36 nevertheless, the government’s evidence, including Cross’s writings and testimony by his then-fellow prison inmates, clearly showed that one of his ultimate purposes in hatching the Tampa photo scheme was to profit from sales of the nude pictures.37 This claim of error is therefore without merit.
Relying on the Supreme Court’s decision in McNally v. United States, 483 U.S. 350, 107 S. Ct. 2875, 97 L. Ed. 2d 292 (1987),38 Cross asks us to reverse his mail fraud convictions on the ground that the jury could have concluded that he perpetrated the Tampa photo hoax simply to indulge his own personal, sexual gratification, and therefore could have found him guilty of engaging in a scheme to deprive his victims of intangible, non-property rights, outside the scope of the mail fraud statute, 18 U.S.C.A. Sec. 1341 (1984).39 However, after reviewing the indictment, the evidence offered at trial, and the jury instructions, we conclude that the jury in this case necessarily determined that Cross schemed to defraud the Tampa models, along with their families, the photographer, and the modeling agency, of various services and property of some value.40 See United States v. Lang, 904 F.2d 618, 627 (11th Cir.), cert. denied, — U.S. —-, 111 S. Ct. 305, 112 L. Ed. 2d 258 (1990); United States v. Dynalectric Co., 859 F.2d 1559, 1570 (11th Cir. 1988), cert. denied, 490 U.S. 1006, 109 S. Ct. 1642, 104 L. Ed. 2d 157 (1989). Therefore, we reject this claim of error.
In disposing of an appeal by Cross’s co-defendant, Diwan, this court has already determined that the indictment in this case sufficiently alleged a plot to deprive the victims of property or money.41 See United States v. Diwan, 864 F.2d 715 (11th Cir.) (per curiam), cert. denied, 492 U.S. 921, 109 S. Ct. 3249, 106 L. Ed. 2d 595 (1989). The court explained:
One objective of this conspiracy … was that the girls forfeit modelling services, photographs, and the likenesses that emanate therefrom. The photographer would lose the value of his services, as would the … [t]alent [a]gency … the photographer would necessarily have to use film and other materials in producing the photographs, and [the talent agency] would forfeit proprietary business information–the identities and the addresses of aspiring actresses. All of these items have value to the owner.
Id. at 719. Nevertheless, Cross now argues that the evidence presented at trial and the jury charge on the elements of mail fraud allowed the jury to convict him of engaging in a deception involving intangible, McNally-type rights. In attempting to identify such rights in this case, which were unprotected by the mail fraud statute, Cross contends that his guilty verdict may have improperly rested on proof showing only that he sought to obtain the Tampa photographs to satisfy his own sexual appetites.
Cross is wrong on all accounts. The evidence at trial proved the indictment’s allegations of losses suffered by the victims, as described in Diwan. More importantly, the district court’s instructions specifically directed the jury that it could return a guilty verdict on the mail fraud counts only if it found that Cross had devised “a scheme to defraud or for obtaining money or property,” and defined scheme to include any plan to obtain “money or property.” See Dynalectric, 859 F.2d at 1573 (concluding that identical instruction comported with McNally) . The court also charged that to act with “intent to defraud” meant acting “ordinarily for the purpose of causing some financial loss to another or bringing about some financial gain to oneself.”42 As for Cross’s claim that his convictions should be reversed because the ultimate goal of the plot was to indulge his pedophilia and not turn a profit, Cross incorrectly focuses on his own ultimate purposes, rather than on the harms suffered by his victims.43 In rejecting the same contention in Diwan’s case, this court stated:
Diwan misses the point when she argues that the primary objective of the scheme was merely personal sexual indulgence, and not the deprivation of property through fraud. The entire array of deprivations announced in the indictment would be a necessary result of the overt acts planned to further the scheme. If the defendants were to achieve success in their endeavor in the chosen manner, the girls, the photographer, and the talent agency would have to lose, and what they would lose is property.
Diwan, 864 F.2d at 719-20. Cross’s mail fraud convictions were not invalid under McNally and its progeny.
As the centerpiece of his defense at trial, Cross sought to prove that, in corresponding with Lodge, he was acting as an informant for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement under an official grant of immunity. Cross claims that his convictions should be overturned because the trial court improperly admitted as evidence letters that he wrote to Lodge as part of his work on behalf of a government investigation of child pornographers.44 For the purposes of resolving this issue, we accept, as did the district court, Cross’s contention that such evidence would be subject to exclusion if it were indeed a product of either an actual immunity agreement or Cross’s good faith belief that he had been granted immunity from prosecution. See United States v. Harvey, 869 F.2d 1439, 1444 (11th Cir. 1989); Rowe v. Griffin, 676 F.2d 524, 527-28 (11th Cir. 1982); United States v. Weiss, 599 F.2d 730, 735-36, 738 n. 17 (5th Cir. 1979). The district court overruled Cross’s objection to admission of the correspondence, in light of the government’s contrary evidence that Cross was not working as a law enforcement informant.45 Because Cross’s immunity contentions raised an issue relevant to his guilt or innocence, the jury was allowed to hear the evidence and received instructions on this defense.46 In convicting Cross on the conspiracy count, the jury necessarily found that Cross had possessed the requisite criminal intent when he conspired with Lodge. We find no reason to disturb the jury’s resolution of this factual issue against Cross.47
In 1979, Cross, through his attorney, Raymond Cramer, contacted the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to explore the possibility of assisting the Department in an investigation of child pornography distribution. In 1980, Cross, Cramer, and Department agent Michael Brick met on several occasions to discuss ways in which Cross could aid in the investigation, but no agreement was reached. Brick suggested that Cross maintain his contacts with pornography distributors, but not with individual pedophiles. Brick also instructed Cross to mail only written materials, and specifically rejected a proposal by Cross that he send out a fake brochure containing pictures of nude children.48 Later that year, Department agent George Syring, who had been reassigned in Brick’s place, together with United States Postal Inspector Ted Griem also contacted Cross in order to solicit his assistance in gathering information about child pornographers. At a meeting with Cross in 1981, Syring and Griem instructed him to correspond with four magazine advertisers, who they suspected were peddling child pornography, through a post office box rented by Syring under a false name. No letters to or from Cross were ever received at this post office box. Instead, Cross asked the Department for a grant of immunity before proceeding with any correspondence. Several months later, the Department’s legal counsel forwarded a draft immunity agreement to Cross which he signed and returned to the Department through his attorney, Cramer.49 The agreement was never signed by any law enforcement official and was never returned to Cramer or Cross.50 Cramer testified that he assumed that the Department’s failure to return the immunity agreement meant that they had decided not to go forward with it.51
What is most telling is that, contrary to his instructions, Cross never informed any of the government officials with whom he communicated during this period about the Tampa photo scheme or that he was mailing nude pictures, nor did he ever receive permission from any law enforcement officer to engage in such activities.52 Indeed, Cross’s intrigues involving the child models occurred in late 1982 and early 1983, well after he had last had any discussions with or received any news from law enforcement officers concerning his assistance in an investigation or the possibility that he would be granted immunity. In short, based on these facts, it was not unreasonable for the jury to find that Cross did not engage in these activities under a good faith belief that he was acting on behalf of law enforcement and under a grant of immunity.53 Clearly rather, Cross was, as the government aptly describes it, “playing both ends against the middle in a cynical effort to create a defense for himself if his efforts to obtain pornographic pictures of little girls were discovered.”54
In addition to challenging the admission of his correspondence with Lodge on the basis of his purported immunity agreement, Cross also claims that the letters should have been excluded because they were unduly prejudicial and because those which predated the conspiracy were irrelevant to the charges against him. A district court’s admission of “extrinsic act” evidence under Federal Rule of Evidence 404(b) will not be reversed absent an abuse of discretion.55 United States v. Jones, 913 F.2d 1552, 1556 (11th Cir. 1990). In order to be admissible under Rule 404(b), extrinsic act proof must simply be relevant.56 Huddleston v. United States, 485 U.S. 681, 689, 108 S. Ct. 1496, 1501, 99 L. Ed. 2d 771 (1988). Cross’s pre-1980 correspondence to Lodge,57 in which he discussed at length various plots to produce and distribute child pornography, was properly introduced to demonstrate both appellants’ intent to accomplish this same illegal purpose with regards to the Tampa photo hoax.58 See Fed.R.Evid. 404(b); Jones, 913 F.2d at 1566; United States v. Collins, 779 F.2d 1520, 1533 (11th Cir. 1986). Evidence explaining the onset of Cross and Lodge’s planning of illegal activities was particularly important because of the unusual circumstances in this case: Cross and Lodge had never met, they lived on opposite coasts, and Lodge was not aware that Cross was incarcerated. See id.; United States v. Mancari, 875 F.2d 103, 105 (7th Cir. 1989); United States v. Marks, 816 F.2d 1207, 1209 (7th Cir. 1987). In short, contrary to what Cross suggests, there is no absolute bar on the introduction of evidence which pre-dates an alleged conspiracy if the evidence is otherwise relevant. See United States v. Diaz, 878 F.2d 608, 614 & n. 2 (2nd Cir.), cert. denied, — U.S. —-, 110 S. Ct. 543, 107 L. Ed. 2d 540 (1989); Mancari, 875 F.2d at 105; Marks, 816 F.2d at 1209.
Cross, however, also contends that even if the correspondence were relevant, the probative value of these and other, post-1980 letters used against him by the government was substantially outweighed by their unfair and unduly prejudicial impact on the jury. See Federal Rule of Evidence 403.59 Cross points, in particular, to some of the letters’ sexual references to children, and argues that their admission created an unacceptable risk that the jury convicted simply because he was a pedophile. A conviction will not be set aside because of a district court’s refusal to exclude evidence under Rule 403 absent a clear abuse of discretion. Cauchon v. United States, 824 F.2d 908, 913-14 (11th Cir.), cert. denied, 484 U.S. 957, 108 S. Ct. 355, 98 L. Ed. 2d 380 (1987). Indeed, Rule 403 is “an extraordinary remedy which should be used sparingly,” and the trial court’s discretion to exclude evidence as unduly prejudicial is “narrowly circumscribed.” United States v. Norton, 867 F.2d 1354, 1361 (11th Cir.), cert. denied, — U.S. —-, 110 S. Ct. 200, 107 L. Ed. 2d 154 (1989). The “major function” of Rule 403 “is limited to excluding matter of scant or cumulative probative force, dragged in by the heels for the sake of its prejudicial effect.” United States v. Sawyer, 799 F.2d 1494, 1506 (11th Cir. 1986), cert. denied, 479 U.S. 1069, 107 S. Ct. 961, 93 L. Ed. 2d 1009 (1987), quoting United States v. Thevis, 665 F.2d 616, 633-34 (5th Cir. Unit B), cert. denied, 456 U.S. 1008, 102 S. Ct. 2300, 73 L. Ed. 2d 1303 (1982).60 As previously discussed, the correspondence was of considerable probative value in proving Lodge’s and Cross’s intent to create and market child pornography.61 Moreover, because there was ample other evidence offered at trial that Cross was a pedophile and child pornographer, it is unlikely that the references in these letters to sexual exploitation of children injected any unfair prejudice into the jury’s determination of Cross’s guilt. We find no error in the district court’s admission of Cross’s correspondence.
Cross insists that he is entitled to a new trial as a result of the district court’s refusal to grant a continuance to enable him to call his daughter as a witness. The decision whether to continue a trial is committed to the sound discretion of the district court. United States v. O’Neill, 767 F.2d 780, 784 (11th Cir. 1985). The factors to be considered in evaluating such a claim of error are: (1) the diligence of the defense in interviewing the witness and procuring her testimony; (2) the probability of obtaining the testimony within a reasonable time; (3) the specificity with which the defense was able to describe the witness’s expected knowledge or testimony; and (4) the degree to which such testimony was expected to be favorable to the accused, and the unique or cumulative nature of the testimony. United States v. Costello, 760 F.2d 1123, 1126 (11th Cir. 1985). See also Dickerson v. Alabama, 667 F.2d 1364, 1370 (11th Cir.), cert. denied, 459 U.S. 878, 103 S. Ct. 173, 74 L. Ed. 2d 142 (1982).
Cross’s claim fails to satisfy several of these criteria. First, Cross was not diligent in endeavoring to secure his daughter’s presence, and did not demonstrate that she would actually be available to testify within a reasonable period of time. He first indicated to the trial court that he was having difficulty locating his daughter, who lived in Canada, two weeks after he had begun to present his defense, on the day he rested his case. At such time, the court granted Cross a five-day continuance, indicating that he would be allowed to reopen his case during or after Lodge’s defense in order to call his daughter as a witness, but that if she were not available on that date, the trial would be completed and the case submitted to the jury. On the day that Cross’s daughter was supposed to appear, he moved for another continuance on the ground that she had been forced to remain in Canada to care for a sick relative. Cross did not specifically indicate to the court when his daughter would be available to testify.62 Refusing to further delay the trial, the court denied Cross’s motion.
Second, his daughter’s testimony would have been, at best, cumulative and of marginal benefit to Cross’s defense. Cross contends that she would have testified that he had, in the 1950’s and 60’s, been a legitimate film producer and had intended to produce a documentary similar to the one that was the subject of the Tampa hoax. Such evidence, however, would have been of little relevance to the question of whether, decades after the events claimed by his daughter, Cross obtained nude photos from the young models in order to create child pornography. Indeed, the evidence at trial that Cross’s activities were not aimed at producing a legitimate film was overwhelming. Moreover, two other witnesses, the head of the talent agency and the Tampa photographer hired by Cross, each testified that he indeed demonstrated a professional familiarity with the film business and appeared to be a knowledgeable, experienced producer. The district court did not abuse its discretion in refusing to grant Cross a second continuance.
Cross next argues that he is entitled to a new trial because the district court erred in admitting irrelevant, cumulative, and unfairly prejudicial expert testimony by Kenneth Lanning, an FBI agent, on the characteristic behaviors of pedophiles. A trial court has wide discretion in determining whether to exclude expert testimony, and its action will be sustained on appeal unless “manifestly erroneous.” United States v. Burchfield, 719 F.2d 356, 357 (11th Cir. 1983) (per curiam). See also Hamling v. United States, 418 U.S. 87, 108, 94 S. Ct. 2887, 2903, 41 L. Ed. 2d 590 (1974); United States v. Bagnell, 679 F.2d 826, 833 (11th Cir. 1982), cert. denied, 460 U.S. 1047, 103 S. Ct. 1449, 75 L. Ed. 2d 803 (1983). A properly qualified expert witness may testify regarding his specialized knowledge in a given field if it “would assist the trier of fact to understand the evidence or to determine a fact in issue.”63 Federal Rule of Evidence 702. See United States v. Rouco, 765 F.2d 983, 995 (11th Cir. 1985) (expert may be used if his testimony can offer something “beyond the understanding and experience of the average citizen”), cert. denied, 475 U.S. 1124, 106 S. Ct. 1646, 90 L. Ed. 2d 190 (1986); Burchfield, 719 F.2d at 357 (expert testimony admissible where it is “the kind that enlightens and informs lay persons without expertise in a specialized field”). See also Notes of Advisory Committee on Proposed Rule 702.
In regards to the California photos that were the subject of Count II of the indictment, Lanning testified that these pictures would be of sexual interest to pedophiles and offered his expert opinion that they were obscene. Count II charged both Cross and Lodge with mailing obscene material in violation of 18 U.S.C.A. Sec. 1461 (1984), and the obscenity of these photos was an essential element of the offense. It is well settled that such expert testimony is permissible in an obscenity prosecution, particularly when “contested materials are directed at … [such] a bizarre deviant group that the experience of the trier of fact would be plainly inadequate to judge whether the material appeals to the prurient interest.” Bagnell, 679 F.2d at 833, quoting Paris Adult Theatre I v. Slaton, 413 U.S. 49, 56 n. 6, 93 S. Ct. 2628, 2634 n. 6, 37 L. Ed. 2d 446 (1973).64 Accord Hamling, 418 U.S. at 108, 94 S. Ct. at 2903; United States v. Petrov, 747 F.2d 824, 830 (2nd Cir. 1984), cert. denied, 471 U.S. 1025, 105 S. Ct. 2037, 85 L. Ed. 2d 318 (1985).
Lanning’s testimony was also helpful to the jury and relevant to its consideration of the conspiracy and mail fraud charges against Cross. In his defense at trial, Cross contended that the Tampa photos were innocent “nude studies,” rather than child pornography, and that he had arranged them for the purpose of casting a legitimate film. In describing the habits of pedophiles, Lanning testified that such persons characteristically derive sexual satisfaction from and collect even such ostensibly non-sexual nude photographs of children. Lanning also told the jury that these kinds of pictures, rather than more graphic ones, are frequently published in magazines distributed to pedophiles in an attempt to circumvent laws against obscenity and child pornography.65 Such evidence clearly shed light on one of the critical issues in the case–whether Cross obtained the photos with the intention of using them to produce and distribute child pornography. Indeed, federal courts have ordinarily allowed law enforcement officials “to testify as experts … to establish the modus operandi of particular crimes,” in order to “explain the actions of the defendants.”66 Burchfield, 719 F.2d at 358 (counterfeiters). Accord United States v. Thomas, 676 F.2d 531, 538 (11th Cir. 1982) (drug couriers); United States v. White, 890 F.2d 1012, 1014 (8th Cir.) (same), cert. denied, — U.S. —-, 110 S. Ct. 3254, 111 L. Ed. 2d 763 (1990); United States v. Anderson, 851 F.2d 384, 392-93 (D.C.1988) (pimps and prostitutes), cert. denied, 488 U.S. 1012, 109 S. Ct. 801, 102 L. Ed. 2d 792 (1989).67 Lanning’s testimony on these matters was also proper.
Cross, however, also insists that even if Lanning’s testimony were relevant and helpful to the jury, it should nevertheless have been excluded under Federal Rule of Evidence 403 because its probative value was substantially outweighed by its undue prejudice and tendency to mislead the jury. See Rouco, 765 F.2d at 995. Cross specifically suggests that Lanning’s testimony created an unacceptable risk that the jury convicted him simply out of disgust for pedophilia. As the court has already recognized in its discussion of Cross’s claim of error regarding admission of his correspondence,68 a conviction will not be overturned on the basis of a violation of Rule 403 absent a clear abuse of discretion. Cauchon v. United States, 824 F.2d 908, 913-14 (11th Cir.), cert. denied, 484 U.S. 957, 108 S. Ct. 355, 98 L. Ed. 2d 380 (1987). This rule is “an extraordinary remedy which should be used sparingly,” and, indeed, the trial court’s discretion to exclude evidence as unduly prejudicial is “narrowly circumscribed.” United States v. Norton, 867 F.2d 1354, 1361 (11th Cir.), cert. denied, — U.S. —-, 110 S. Ct. 200, 107 L. Ed. 2d 154 (1989). As noted above, Lanning’s testimony on the obscene nature of the California photos and the sexual appeal and marketability of the Tampa pictures to pedophiles was of considerable probative value in proving each of the charges contained in the indictment. Moreover, because there was extensive, particularized evidence of Cross’s sexual attitudes toward children offered at trial by the government and, indeed, by Cross himself, it is doubtful that Lanning’s more generalized testimony about the nature of pedophilia could have independently affected the jury’s verdict. See Anderson, 851 F.2d at 394. The jurors were instructed to determine for themselves the weight to be given the opinion of each expert witness. See Burchfield, 719 F.2d at 358. We find no error in the district court’s admission of Lanning’s testimony over Cross’s Rule 403 objection.69
In his initial pro se brief, Cross complains that the district court improperly admitted certain hearsay statements made to law enforcement officers by Diwan and Lodge. At trial, a prison inspector and state police official from Florida each testified that Diwan provided and identified for them certain documents that the government later introduced as exhibits at trial, including a package of nude photographs which Diwan indicated she had received from the Tampa photographer. In addition, Seattle Detective Thomas Dittmar also testified that at the time he and other officers searched Lodge’s home, Lodge acknowledged to him that he collected child pornography, knew Cross, and that the dummy corporation created as a front for the Tampa photo scheme had been Cross’s idea.
An out-of-court statement by a co-conspirator is admissible under both Federal Rule of Evidence 801(d) (2) (E)70 and the Confrontation Clause of the Sixth Amendment if the trial judge determines that the government has proven by a preponderance of the evidence that (1) “the declarant and the defendant were involved in an existing conspiracy,” and (2) “the statement was made in furtherance of that conspiracy.”71 United States v. Jones, 913 F.2d 1552, 1563 (11th Cir. 1990). See also Bourjaily v. United States, 483 U.S. 171, 175, 107 S. Ct. 2775, 2778, 97 L. Ed. 2d 144 (1987). Although we are bound to apply a “liberal standard” in determining whether a statement was made in furtherance of a conspiracy, see United States v. Byrom, 910 F.2d 725, 735 (11th Cir. 1990), it is clear that these statements by Diwan and Lodge were admissions after the conspiracy had effectively ended, and as such, were not made “in furtherance of that conspiracy.”72 The district court’s finding to the contrary was clearly erroneous. See United States v. Turner, 871 F.2d 1574, 1581 (11th Cir.), cert. denied, — U.S. —-, 110 S. Ct. 552, 107 L. Ed. 2d 548 (1989).
However, this conclusion does not end our inquiry. It is well-established that the improper admission of co-conspirator hearsay, like other Confrontation Clause errors, is subject to the harmless error rule of Chapman v. California, 386 U.S. 18, 87 S. Ct. 824, 17 L. Ed. 2d 705 (1967). Turner, 871 F.2d at 1581-82. See also Delaware v. Van Arsdall, 475 U.S. 673, 684, 106 S. Ct. 1431, 1438, 89 L. Ed. 2d 674 (1986). We find that Cross is not entitled to prevail on appeal, despite the district court’s erroneous failure to exclude these statements, because there is “no reasonable probability” that such evidence “might have contributed to [his] conviction [s].” Turner, 871 F.2d at 1582, quoting Fahy v. Connecticut, 375 U.S. 85, 86-87, 84 S. Ct. 229, 230-31, 11 L. Ed. 2d 171 (1963).73 See also United States v. Petit, 841 F.2d 1546, 1557 (11th Cir.), cert. denied, 487 U.S. 1237, 108 S. Ct. 2906, 101 L. Ed. 2d 938 (1988); United States v. Santiago, 837 F.2d 1545, 1549 (11th Cir. 1988). Diwan’s and Lodge’s statements to law enforcement officers were of little significance to the case against Cross. The government presented abundant, independent proof of the inculpatory facts referred to in these statements, namely, that the Tampa photographer had conveyed nude photos to Cross, and that Cross had hatched the idea of chartering a corporation to disguise his pornographic enterprise. Moreover, because the evidence of Cross’s guilt on all counts was so overwhelming, we can be virtually certain that the admission of these statements did not influence the jury’s verdict. Cross is not entitled to a new trial, because the error in question was “harmless beyond a reasonable doubt.” See Turner, 871 F.2d at 1582; United States v. Pendegraph, 791 F.2d 1462, 1465 (11th Cir.), cert. denied, 479 U.S. 869, 107 S. Ct. 235, 93 L. Ed. 2d 160 (1986). See also United States v. Weinstein, 762 F.2d 1522, 1535 (11th Cir. 1985), cert. denied, 475 U.S. 1110, 106 S. Ct. 1519, 89 L. Ed. 2d 917 (1986).
Cross contends that Warren Mumpower, a former fellow inmate and government witness, has since recanted the testimony he gave at Cross’s trial.74 However, the proper procedure for presenting such newly discovered evidence would have been to file a motion for a new trial in the district court. See Fed. R. Crim. P. 33. Cross has failed to pursue this avenue and it is now closed to him, as the prescribed two-year period in which to move for a new trial under Rule 33 has expired.75 This court cannot consider a claim that rests on factual allegations outside the record which the district court has never considered. See United States v. Costa, 890 F.2d 480, 483 (1st Cir. 1989); United States v. Lara-Hernandez, 588 F.2d 272, 275 (9th Cir. 1978).76 As a federal prisoner, Cross is free to bring a habeas corpus action in the district court, under 28 U.S.C.A. Sec. 2255, collaterally attacking his convictions on the basis of Mumpower’s alleged perjury. See id.
We now dispose of Cross’s final claim that he is entitled to a new trial because the prosecution improperly obtained his sealed witness list, and colluded with Diwan’s defense counsel to induce her to flee the country.77 As a general matter, we will reverse a conviction on the basis of governmental misconduct only if the misconduct may have prejudiced substantial rights of the accused. United States v. Collins, 779 F.2d 1520, 1534 (11th Cir. 1986). Specifically, the government’s improper acquisition of defense strategy is fatal to a conviction only where there was “a realistic possibility of injury to [the defendant] or benefit to the State.” United States v. Franklin, 598 F.2d 954, 956 (5th Cir.), cert. denied, 444 U.S. 870, 100 S. Ct. 147, 62 L. Ed. 2d 95 (1979), quoting Weatherford v. Bursey, 429 U.S. 545, 558, 97 S. Ct. 837, 845, 51 L. Ed. 2d 30 (1977). In this case, Cross submitted to the district court, ex parte, a list of witnesses he wished to call together with a description of the relevant, anticipated testimony of each one, in order to obtain subpoenas and expenses for these witnesses. Cross himself admitted that this document was unsealed when received by the clerk of the district court, although he insists that it was sealed when filed by his standby counsel. Even if it were true that, as Cross alleges, the witness list was later revealed to the FBI agent assigned to the case, Cross did not demonstrate that the agent or any member of the prosecutorial team was responsible for unsealing the document, or that it was unsealed other than by accident. This does not amount to governmental misconduct. Moreover, Cross has failed to describe how the revelation of his witness list prejudiced his case, and he has not contradicted the government’s contention that they already knew the nature of his defense and the identities of many of his witnesses. Presented with these allegations, the district court properly denied Cross’s motion to dismiss the indictment on the basis of the unsealed witness list.78
As for the other element of Cross’s misconduct claim, it is true that government intimidation of defense witnesses can constitute a denial of due process. See United States v. Terzado-Madruga, 897 F.2d 1099, 1108 (11th Cir. 1990); United States v. Stewart, 820 F.2d 370, 375 (11th Cir. 1987). See also United States v. Valenzuela-Bernal, 458 U.S. 858, 867, 102 S. Ct. 3440, 3446, 73 L. Ed. 2d 1193 (1982). The district court held several hearings to inquire into allegations by Cross that the government had deprived him of favorable testimony from Diwan by colluding with her defense attorney to persuade her to abscond rather than face trial. Although testimony by Cross and Diwan,79 together with a purported transcript of one of Diwan’s conversations with her attorney, indicates that the attorney may have suggested to Diwan that she consider leaving the country, there was no evidence whatsoever that the government induced the attorney to make this suggestion, or otherwise colluded with Diwan’s counsel.80 We concur in the district court’s finding that Cross’s witness intimidation claim has no merit.