WASHINGTON — Evil Angel founder John Stagliano’s attorney has asked a judge to throw out a motion by Justice Department lawyers to slate a status hearing to resolve pending motions and set a trial date.
Stagliano attorney Allen Gelbard told XBIZ on Monday that he opposes the government’s motion because U.S. Judge Richard Leon [pictured] has yet to rule on the motions to dismiss the cases and other pre-trial motions against Stagliano, as well as Evil Angel Productions and John Stagliano Inc.
“I suspect the judge is taking his time on the matter because he’s taking the motions seriously,” said Gelbard, who also noted that the judge previously had been bogged down weighing matters over prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay.
Gelbard said that the Justice Department’s latest motion to get a trial date isn’t appropriate because Leon earlier made it clear that it would render an opinion as soon as possible and that other pending motions would not be considered until the court ruled on the motions to dismiss.
“[U]ntil the court rules on the defendants’ motions to dismiss, any such determinations are unnecessary as should the court grant defendants’ motions, these issues will all be moot,” Gelbard said.
Gelbard told the court last week that all of the motions raised in prior motions are “serious and profoundly important constitutional issues pertaining to, amongst other things, the continuing validity of the obscenity doctrine as applied to consensual private recipients, its applicability to Internet communications, and peoples’ rights under the substantive due process guarantees of the 14th Amendment to privately obtain sexually explicit entertainment for use in the privacy of their homes.”
Stagliano, Evil Angel Productions and John Stagliano Inc. were charged with seven counts in April 2008 of operating an obscenity distribution business and related offenses.
The charges stem from the mail and Internet distribution of two movies “Milk Nymphos,” directed by Jay Sin; “Storm Squirters 2” directed by Joey Silvera; and a trailer from Belladonna’s “Fetish Fanatic 5.”
Stagliano, who spoke on Saturday at the Free Speech Coalition’s annual fundraiser at the Skirball Center in Los Angeles, blasted the government over its prosecutorial efforts against him and his companies.
Stagliano was crowned FSC Man of the Year at the event, which draws top industry executives from the online adult, DVD, store owner, sex toy and novelty sectors.
“How would one know what is obscene in this country?” Stagliano asked at the FSC event. “There are no black-and-white answers.”
Stagliano told the crowd of about 300 that he particularly took issue with their efforts to strike from evidence Stagliano’s statements to Reason.tv and the Los Angeles Times. Justice Department attorneys are arguing that his statements are “irrelevant, inflammatory and, in some instances, blatant misstatements of the law” and should not be allowed as evidence for jurors to hear.
The prosecution asserts that Stagliano’s view that community standards are different in cases involving obscene matter distributed through the Internet is contrary to established law, that his belief that he did not know that he was breaking the law is irrelevant and that any mention of a potential sentence in a criminal case is improper.