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After Hours Video Employee Obscenity Trial Raises ACLU Issues

Staunton, Virginia- In December, the Hook reported on the case of Rick Krial, the owner of Staunton adult video store After Hours Video who faces eight felony obscenity counts after undercover police purchased 10 DVDs from his establishment. Now, the cashier who sold police those DVDs has also been charged.

On Wednesday, Staunton Commonwealth’s Attorney Ray Robertson indicted Tinsley Embrey on six felony and four misdemeanor counts. A date for pretrial motions has been set for March 6 at 8:30am, three weeks after Krial’s own trial opens at 1pm on the appropriate date of February 14.

Calls to Robertson for comment were not returned at the time of this post, but the prosecutor told the Staunton News Leader that he charged the cashier because “He knew what he was selling.” The article also states that Krial will foot the legal bill for Embrey, although there’s no word yet on whether Larry Flynt attorney Paul Cambria will represent both After Hours’ owner and its employee.

“In the obscenity cases we’ve done, I don’t recall any of the clerical staff ever being charged,” says Kent Willis, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia.

“If you target the owner of the store, then the store goes away. If you target an employee who has little to no decision-making power over what items are for sale, it just means more work for the prosecution to achieve the same goal.”

In another development, the U.S. Department of Justice has become involved in the After Hours case. DOJ attorney Matthew Buzzelli will serve as co-prosecutor in Commonwealth v. Krial, though the federal government has not announced any indictments of its own against Krial or any of his employees. Robertson didn’t explain to the News Leader why Buzzelli has joined him except to say, “They’re interested in how we do here.”

This strikes Willis as odd. “That seems unusual,” he says. “I don’t know why the federal government would be involved, unless they’re making this a higher priority and inviting themselves.”

Buzzelli is part of the Obscenity Prosecution Task Force within the Department of Justice.

Among Buzzelli’s accomplishments is a 2007 conviction of Brazilian fetish porn producer Danilo Simoes Croce for conspiracy to mail obscene materials, in which he reached a plea deal that stipulated a six-month prison sentence and a $98,000 fine for distributing Croce’s possibly stomach-turning scatalogical brand of adult videos. Croce gained notoriety when people filmed others’ reactions to his “Two Girls, One Cup” video and it became a YouTube phenomenon. A YouTube search for “one cup reactions” yields 6,110 hits.

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