James Maines Jr., ex-aide to Joe Barton, pleads guilty to porn charges

A former aide to U.S. Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, has pleaded guilty in Dallas federal court to receiving child pornography.

James “Dub” Maines Jr., 54, of Mesquite, Texas, went before U.S. Magistrate Judge David L. Horan of the Northern District of Texas on Wednesday and admitted to one count of knowingly receiving child pornography, according to a release Thursday from the U.S. Justice Department.

Maines was a deputy district director for Barton in the 6th Congressional District, which includes Arlington and portions of Tarrant County, from February 2006 until December 2014. He was identified in the release as “a former congressional staffer” but a search of House of Representatives records provided by Legistorm, an online service, disclosed the connection to Barton.

I and my office have cooperated with law enforcement officials investigating the matter.

Rep. Joe Barton

In a statement, Barton said, “James Maines Jr. has pled guilty to a federal criminal charge. I and my office have cooperated with law enforcement officials investigating the matter. Mr. Maines is no longer a member of my staff.” Maines was indicted last December.

The plea agreement was announced by Assistant Attorney General Leslie Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney John Parker of the Northern District of Texas and Special Agent in Charge Thomas M. Class Sr. of the FBI’s Dallas Field Office.

“In connection with his guilty plea, Maines admitted that in November 2012, he attempted to forward five child exploitation images from his email account to his U.S. House of Representatives email account,” said the Justice Department release. “Maines also admitted that he had received these and other child exploitation images via the Internet. Forensic analysis of Maines’s computer revealed a number of child exploitation images, some of which Maines had downloaded as early as 2004.”

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat child sexual exploitation.

Maines faces a minimum of five years and a maximum of 20 years in prison, as well as a fine of up to $250,000.

He is scheduled to be sentenced March 16 before U.S. District Judge Ed Kinkeade of the Northern District of Texas.

Maines ran for Congress in 2002 and placed third out of three candidates in the Republican primary in District 11, earning 12.68 percent of the vote according to the Texas secretary of state website. Then-U.S. Rep. Chet Edwards, a Waco Democrat, won the election.