Karine Jean-Pierre
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Man Caught in Sex
Sting Worked for Kerry, HRC

A former aide to
Sen. Maria Cantwell, arrested on federal sex charges
last week, had worked for the 2004 presidential campaigns of
Democrats Dick Gephardt and John Kerry and later for
the Human Rights Campaign.

James Michael
McHaney, 28, of Washington, D.C., was ordered held without
bond following a brief hearing Wednesday in federal court.
Dressed in an orange jumpsuit and blue jacket, McHaney
responded ''Yes, sir,'' when questioned by Magistrate
Judge John Facciola.

McHaney was fired
Friday from his job as a scheduler for Cantwell, a
Washington State Democrat, hours after he was arrested by
FBI agents. The FBI said in a charging document that
McHaney tried to set up a meeting with a witness
posing online as a 13-year-old boy.

McHaney, a native
of Little Rock, Ark., did advance work for both
Gephardt, a former Missouri congressman, and Kerry, a
Massachusetts senator, in their 2004 campaigns,
Democrats said Wednesday.

A spokesman for
Kerry confirmed that McHaney worked for the campaign from
February to November 2004, but declined to comment.

Following the
election McHaney worked for HRC, the nation's largest gay
rights group, before being hired by Cantwell in July 2006.

Cantwell's chief
of staff, Michael Meehan, is a veteran political
operative who worked on the Kerry campaign before joining
Cantwell's staff.

Meehan issued a
strongly worded statement Monday night saying McHaney had
been fired.

''Our office has
and will continue to fully cooperate with the ongoing
federal criminal investigation. Senator Cantwell has zero
tolerance for crimes against children,'' Meehan said.

McHaney's lawyer,
Thomas Abbenante, said in court Wednesday that his
client would not exercise his right to a speedy trial,
agreeing to a January 14 court date. The nature of the
charges, which involve allegations of extensive online
communications between McHaney and the unidentified
witness, require time to study, Abbenante said.

According to
court papers, McHaney, known as Mike, said he would ''take a
long lunch'' to meet with an unidentified person posing as a
teenage boy. When the witness asked whether McHaney
was interested in sex with a 13-year-old, McHaney
allegedly replied, ''I'll be there,'' the court papers

It is not known
if McHaney used a Senate computer to arrange the alleged
meetings. Abbenante declined to comment.

McHaney, who has
no previous criminal record, was charged with attempted
child exploitation. If convicted, he faces at least five
years in prison. (Matthew Daly, AP)

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