A former Donald Trump campaign aide faces 12 years or more in prison after pleading guilty to a child pornography charge in a case as luridly disturbing as any QAnon conspiracy theory.
Ruben Verastigui admitted possession of 152 videos and 50 images of child pornography and to receiving and distributing sexual depictions of children as part of a plea agreement in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., reported Politico.
Prosecutors said the 27-year-old Verastigui, who had been president of the Northwest Vista College Students for Life before going to work on Republican campaigns, sought out images of the rape of infants during an online chat last year and fantasized online about killing children and babies while abusing them.
"Well like I said babies are some of my biggest turn-ons and beast," Verastigui wrote, according court documents. "Young rape… F*ck I love all that."
An investigation into a ring of at least 18 individuals trading child pornography in an online chat group appears to have turned up at least one other political staffer in Washington.
Adam Hageman, a Trump Commerce Department political appointee, was arrested on charges he shared a child pornography video and commented about sexually abusing children, and he was set in April to enter a guilty plea of his own but court records don't show that hearing ever took place.
Verastigui performed digital strategy and similar work for the Joint Economic Committee and the Senate Republican Conference, and also designed social media ads for Trump's re-election campaign.
The investigation shows Verastigui committed some of his crimes while on the payroll of GOP groups.
He could have faced possible charges in Arizona related to his online activity, but federal prosecutors agreed not to pursue those charges in exchange for Verastigui's guilty plea.
Verastigui is scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 12.