weather icon Clear
RJ App
Vegas News, Alerts, ePaper

Child pornography trial opens for former Las Vegas Strip illusionist

Investigators found more than 9,000 videos containing child pornography on nine different devices scattered around the property of former Strip illusionist Jan Rouven, prosecutors said Monday during opening statements in his federal trial.

In court papers filed just before the trial started, Assistant U.S. Attorney Lisa Cartier-Giroux described Rouven’s manager-husband, Frank Dietmar Alfter, as an “unindicted co-conspirator” in the case.

According to the prosecutor, Rouven called his husband from jail while awaiting trial and told him to “delete the message if it contains anything (FBI Special Agent) Mari (Panovich) shouldn’t read.”

Both Rouven and Alfter are German citizens, and Alfter since has left the United States. Prosecutors do not expect him to return for the trial.

Lawyers for Rouven, 38, did not give opening remarks.

In June, U.S. immigration officials revoked Rouven’s work visa, citing the criminal case and the fact that Rouven no longer has a job as an entertainer.

U.S. District Judge Gloria Navarro is presiding over the bench trial for the former star of the “The New Illusions” show at Tropicana Las Vegas. Rouven, who was indicted under his full name, Jan Rouven Fuechtener, faces decades in prison if convicted.

He is charged with possessing, receiving, distributing and advertising child pornography. He has been in federal custody since March 16, when he was arrested by FBI agents.

If Rouven is convicted, he would have to serve his sentence before being deported, defense lawyer Jess Marchese has said.

Rouven is expected to testify in his defense as the trial wraps up, either Thursday or Friday, according to Marchese.

The Tropicana canceled Rouven’s show and severed ties with him a day after the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported his arrest.

According to the criminal complaint, the investigation of Rouven began in August 2015 when an undercover FBI agent from Buffalo, New York, infiltrated a computer file-sharing network dealing in child pornography.

Investigators later found videos — which ranged from five minutes to more than an hour and featured juveniles, adults and animals — on devices in Rouven’s backyard casita, on his pool deck, in his kitchen and in his bedrooms, Assistant U.S. Attorney Elham Roohani told the judge.

On a device in the casita, agents discovered a child pornography video on pause after Rouven disclosed the password.

Contact David Ferrara at dferrara@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-1039. Follow @randompoker on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.