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German vice chancellor: govt in 'trying' situation

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February 17, 2014 10:53 AM EST | AP


BERLIN (AP) — Germany's vice chancellor says a scandal over the handling of a child pornography investigation has created a "trying situation" for the country's new coalition government but is vowing to help calm things down.

Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel's Social Democrats face questions over whether anyone informed a lawmaker he was under investigation for allegedly possessing pictures of underage boys. The lawmaker, Sebastian Edathy, denies owning illegal material. He resigned his seat days before police searched his home and offices.

Last week, Cabinet minister Hans-Peter Friedrich, from Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative bloc, quit after a senior Social Democrat said Gabriel was told by Friedrich about the case in October. That chilled the atmosphere in the coalition.

Gabriel insisted Monday that senior party officials acted correctly and didn't tip off Edathy.