NEWARK, N.J. — Pre-trial motions have delayed the obscenity trial of Torture Portal operator Barry Goldman, who was indicted by a federal grand jury in New Jersey after a previous indictment was dropped in Montana.
In a brief to the court on Thursday, Goldman’s attorneys said for a second time that they want his eight-count indictment on obscenity charges dropped.
Goldman’s attorneys, federal defenders Lisa M. Mack and Louise Arkel, said that the case has been all about forum shopping and that the Justice Department handled the investigation in “heavy-handed and inexplicable” pattern.
“The serpentine road that the government took to indict Mr. Goldman in New Jersey was the result of a deliberate and intentional search for the most favorable forum possible,” Goldman’s counsel said. “It was a search that required a sting operation to be set up, because the government had not a shred of proof that Mr. Goldman had ever done any business whatsoever in Montana.”
Goldman’s attorneys said that the probe was done “in contravention of DOJ policy, both with respect to venue and to prosecutorial targets.”
“It meant dragging a retired man in poor health and with extremely limited resources halfway across the country to answer for having allegedly mailed three movies, placing him under strict court supervision and placing him under media and community scrutiny, until a federal judge refused to play the government’s game and transferred the case to New Jersey,” Goldman’s counsel said. “The government’s conduct has been outrageous.”
His attorneys said that if the case isn’t dismissed, they want the New Jersey grand jury transcripts be made available to the judge because that jury could have been given improper instructions, as well as the possibility of omission to jurors that the government initially opted for a Montana jury to apply its community standards.
“Mr. Goldman seeks a very limited portion of those transcripts which, importantly, does not contain any testimony, witness names, or other information that the grand jury secrecy rules are intended to protect,” they said.
The Justice Department first learned of Goldman when he promoted his companies’ movies at AEE in Las Vegas in January 2006. The movies were sold through the web at TorturePortal.com.
Goldman, 59, later was indicted by a federal grand jury for violating 18 U.S.C. § 1461 and § 1467 for the distribution of “Torture of a Porn Store Girl,” “Defiant Crista Submits” and “Pregnant and Willing” through the mail. The videos all were mailed in 2006 and 2007.
If convicted, Goldman faces forfeitures and a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a fine of $250,000 on each of the eight counts charged in the indictment.