A former Newsday (search) publisher who has served on the state's education policy board has been charged with possessing child pornography taken off the Internet, authorities said on Tuesday.

Robert Johnson (search), 59, of Huntington, was awaiting arraignment in federal court in Manhattan after surrendering to agents with Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Johnson "was not involved in child pornography," defense attorney Stephen Scaring told reporters outside court, adding that his client would plead not guilty.

Before the arraignment, a U.S. magistrate agreed to release Johnson if he posted a $500,000 bond, had his home computer monitored by authorities and continued a counseling program.

The defendant is the former chief executive of Bowne & Co. Inc. (search), an international printing firm with headquarters in Manhattan. He also served as Newsday's publisher and chief executive from 1986 to November 1994, when he resigned, said Stu Vincent, a spokesman for the newspaper.

Prosecutors allege that Johnson used his company computer at Bowne & Co. to download two films containing child pornography from Web sites being monitored by federal investigators.

In May 2004, after learning that agents had contacted his company, Johnson allegedly sought to destroy incriminating files on his hard drive. He retired about a week later and stepped down later that month from the state Board of Regents.

Johnson represented Long Island on the state board from April 1995 until he resigned without giving a reason.

If convicted of all three counts against him — receiving child pornography, possessing child pornography and willfully destroying a record — Johnson would face a combined maximum sentence of 50 years in prison, prosecutors said.