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July 19, 2010 11:51 AM

So Much for that Obscenity Case

Posted by Zach Lowe

Just as we were getting geared up for the first federal obscenity trial in Washington, D.C., in 20 years, the judge hearing the case dismissed it late on Friday, according to The National Law Journal, one of our sibling publications.

The producer, John Stagliano, faced up to 32 years in prison after prosecutors alleged that two DVDs and a movie trailer his companies produced violated obscenity laws. As we wrote last week, obscenity prosecutions boomed under George W. Bush, but the government pursued most of those cases in reliably conservative jurisdictions. Prosecutors initially sought to try Stagliano in Alabama but shifted the case to D.C. for reasons that are unclear, the NLJ reports. Judge Richard Leon ruled Friday that the prosecution had not produced enough evidence to convince jurors that any defendant had committed a breach of federal obscenity laws, the NLJ says.

Stagliano's legal team hailed Leon's decisions as a victory for the First Amendment. Lawyers representing Stagliano and his production companies included Davis Wright Tremaine, the Cincinnati-based firm Sirkin, Kinsley & Nazzarine, and Allan Gelbard, a solo practitioner based in California. 

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