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Christopher G. Young

When Baton Rouge lawyer and ex-state liquor lobbyist Christopher Young stands trial in October on two federal child pornography charges, the jury won't hear that a conviction on one of those counts would carry a minimum mandatory five-year prison term or that he would have to register as a sex offender, a judge said Monday.

U.S. District Judge John deGravelles said the potential penalties Young faces are of "no probative value" to the jury's ultimate determination. The judge stated at the conclusion of a hearing that he doesn't want the panel's verdict to be based on emotion.

Young's trial is scheduled to begin Oct. 23. He is charged with one count each of possession of child pornography and distribution of child pornography.

Young, the brother of former Jefferson Parish President John Young, is accused of forwarding videos of boys engaging in sex acts with donkeys to friends, family and clients in 2013 and 2015.

He faces up to 20 years in prison on each count, but the distribution charge carries a five-year minimum mandatory sentence.

Federal prosecutors filed a motion in May to exclude evidence or argument regarding the potential penalties attached to the charges. In their opposition to that motion, Young's lawyers said the defense should not be restricted in arguing to the jury that the charges he faces are very serious — without mentioning the possible penalties.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Cam Le and René Salomon argued in their motion that Young's potential punishment has no bearing on the issues to be determined by the jury. The prosecutors noted it is becoming common for defense attorneys to argue that their client is "on trial for his life" or that his "freedom" hangs on the outcome of the jury's decision.

Le told deGravelles during Monday's hearing that the government has no intention of downplaying the seriousness of Young's charges at his trial.

Billy Gibbens, one of Young's attorneys, added that the defense "will convey to the jury how serious we are taking this."

The judge, who said he's satisfied both sides understand where the line is and that it cannot be crossed, stated that any reference to the fact that Young faces "serious consequences" if convicted would not be allowed.

Young testified previously in the case that he forwarded the videos as a crude joke and insisted he is not a child pornographer.

Young contends he is being selectively and vindictively prosecuted for refusing to cooperate in a federal public corruption probe, and because he was a lobbyist at the time.

Follow Joe Gyan Jr. on Twitter, @JoeGyanJr.