Search warrants reveal investigators searched T. Denny Sanford’s cell phone and online accounts

South Dakota News

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Search warrants that name T. Denny Sanford as an implicated individual in a child pornography investigation do not reveal much about what was under investigation and how Sanford may have been involved.

The search warrants involve the investigation of possession and distribution of child pornography in Minnehaha County.

Sanford, 85, has not been charged in the investigation.

Starting in 2019, investigators searched Sanford’s phone records and online accounts. They asked to review incoming and outgoing emails, deleted emails, draft messages, saved emails and anything in folders. They wanted to search all photos and videos connected to his accounts.

The accounts include his AOL email account. Search warrants were also issued to Midcontinent Communications and Verizon.

The request for Midco Communications asks for information from an IP address, which has been redacted by the court, on the evening of June 27, 2019. The Midco warrant lists two times for June 27, 6:32:02 p.m. and 6:33:55 p.m.

There is a Dec. 9, 2019, request for information from an AOL email address, which has been redacted by the court. The request covered information from Jan. 1, 2019, through December, 2019.

Search warrants for a cell phone account with Verizon cover the dates of June 27, May 28 and May 29, 2019. Account information has been redacted by the court. Those were requested on March 13, 2020. Authorities wanted to review all of his call records and information on when he purchased his phones.

Sanford’s net worth is estimated at $3.4 billion, according to Forbes.

Sanford acquired his wealth through First PREMIER Bank, which he established in 1986 when he bought United National Bank and renamed it.

The bank is the official bank of the state of South Dakota and the city of Sioux Falls, according to its website.

He is a long-time donator to many projects in the Sioux Falls area including the health care organization that bears his name, Sanford Health. Forbes estimates that he has donated at least $2 billion to charity.

The South Dakota Supreme Court ruled on Oct. 28 the public has the right to view five search warrants involved in the investigation. T. Denny Sanford was listed as that unnamed person or an implicated person in the search warrant documents, according to the court.

“The ultimate fact remains that the investigating authorities have not found information to support criminal charges,” Sanford’s lawyer Marty Jackley said in statement to KELOLAND News on Wednesday.

The search warrants label Sanford as a ‘defendant,’ however, the State has admitted that was a mistake as Sanford has not been charged.

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