Flanked by a public defender and with his father in the room watching, Newtown resident David Csanadi pleaded not guilty to federal charges of producing and possessing child pornography in U.S. District Court in Bridgeport Tuesday.
The 35-year-old Aunt Park Lane man and former Southbury landscaper appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Holly Fitzsimmons, who advised him of his rights and set a schedule for future proceedings, which will take place in New Haven.
Csanadi, accompanied by U.S. marshals, arrived in handcuffs and an orange jumpsuit. He wore glasses, had facial stumble and appeared thinner from when he was arrested earlier this year.
Upon seeing his father in the courtroom prior to the arrival of the judge, Csanadi pointed and gave him a thumbs-up, visibly relieved to see a friendly face in the courtroom.
In addition to entering a not guilty plea, Csanadi answered in a clear voice, "Yes, your honor" and "no," to Fitzsimmons' questions of whether he was aware of his rights and had enough money to pay for a lawyer.
Csanadi, who had been living on property owned by his family in Newtown, has been held at MacDougall Correctional Institution in Suffield on $1 million bond since he was arrested by in April. Police came to focus on Csanadi after receiving a tip from a .
He stands accused of gaining access to three girls, children of friends, and committing sex acts and other abuse on them, filming images of the acts on 8mm video tapes, according to court documents.
The first victim – an infant – was abused and filmed from 2007 to 2008 while the second victim – the 4-year-old – was abused in the summer of 2009 when Csanadi traveled to Rhode Island, according to the federal indictment. The third victim who also appeared on film but whose identity remains unknown, officials said, was abused on or about 2006, according to the indictment, which also lodges charges of possession of child pornography.
Due to their ages and the situation, the victims apparently did not know the abuse was occuring, according to court documents filed in the case.
In connection with the alleged abuse, state prosecutors levied three counts of first-degree sexual assault and other charges against Csanadi while the federal charges of producing and possession child pornography, which came following a , primarily relate to the filming of the alleged episodes.
While Fitzsimmons considered the question of setting bond, Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Neeraj Patel said a federal detainer had been placed on Csanadi as he remains in custody on the state charges and that should continue, a condition to which Thomas said he did not object.
Fitzsimmons then gave Thomas until Jan. 10 to file pretrial motions in the case and until Jan. 24 for Patel to respond. The case would then proceed to U.S. District Court Judge Janet Bond Arterton in New Haven on Feb. 8.
Both lawyers, who are prohibited by court rules from saying much on the case outside of the courtroom, declined further comment.
Last week, state prosecutors in Danbury asked that their case against Csanadi be continued until Jan. 20.