By Esme Murphy

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The person of interest in the Jacob Wetterling case was back in federal court on Wednesday.

Danny Heinrich wants evidence and incriminating statements he made to investigators thrown out in his child pornography case.

Heinrich, 52, is charged with 25 counts of possessing and receiving child pornography.

Attorneys for Heinrich also told the judge they want his trail moved out of the Twin Cities because of pre-trial publicity.

The most dramatic moment in the hearing came when a recording of Heinrich from last July replayed his reaction to being handed a search warrant – one that stated that investigators wanted to look for Wetterling’s remains at his Annandale home.

Heinrich was at work at Buffalo Veneer and Plywood when investigators wearing hidden recording devices presented him with the warrant.

Heinrich’s initial reaction was to say “Oh, my God.” Later he said, “This is BS, people.”

In court on Wednesday, Heinrich was wearing an orange prison uniform and showed no reaction during the hearing.

In the search of Heinrich’s home last summer, investigators did not find evidence linking Heinrich to Wetterling, but they did find child pornography.

During the search, Heinrich told investigators they would find child porn.

The defense is trying to get those statements, as well as DNA evidence, thrown out.

“I would say that is a pretty uphill battle for the defense on that issue,” said Doug Kelley, a former assistant U.S. attorney.

Kelley also said Heinrich won’t likely succeed in getting his trial moved.

“Tom Petters, who had massive publicity, applied for a change of venue and didn’t get a change of venue,” he said. “It’s just a really high bar in federal court.”

New DNA testing showed Heinrich was a match in another unsolved 1989 abduction of then 12-year-old Jared Scheierl.

Investigators testified on Wednesday saying they thought that after the DNA match Heinrich could be prosecuted in Scheierl’s case, but it turns out Heinrich can’t be prosecuted because of the statute of limitations.

Scheierl, now 40, was in court Wednesday but left without commenting.

During the hearing, there were several references to the Wetterling case that indicate the investigation is still very active.

A prosecutor made a reference to “ongoing testing,” which suggests that DNA and other tests are still being conducted.

A decision on these motions isn’t expected for weeks.

Esme Murphy

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