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Flynt and Kentucky Still At It

LEXINGTON, Ky. — A local Hustler Hollywood store that sells sexually oriented adult material wants a judge to set aside a jury verdict that found the store guilty of violating a local zoning ordinance and grant it a new trial.

Fayette County District Judge Megan Lake Thornton agreed Thursday to hear the store’s arguments July 7. Attorneys for the city must file a response to the store’s motions by June 17, Thornton said.

The hearing Thursday was the latest round in the legal fight between the store and the city, which are on opposite sides of cases in federal, circuit and district courts.

The city scored the most recent win May 13, when a six-man district court jury took about 30 minutes to find the store guilty of violating a local zoning law that prohibits sexually oriented bookstores, video stores and other entertainment centers at interstate highway exchanges in Fayette County.

The store, which sits near an interchange off Interstate 75, was fined $250 for the violation.

Immediately after the trial, attorneys for the store’s owner, Jimmy Flynt, filed an appeal in Fayette County Circuit Court. One of those attorneys, Tucker Richardson of Lexington, said the store will ask Circuit Judge Gary Payne to stay that appeal, pending the outcome of the hearing by Thornton.

If Thornton rules against the store, Richardson said, the store could resume with its appeal.

“This is not about a fine or violation,” Richardson said. “It’s about a man’s right to pursue happiness.”

Bruce Edwards, a spokesman for Lexington Mayor Teresa Ann Isaac, said the case “is a pending legal issue that we can’t comment on.”

The store, which includes a coffee shop, opened July 16 without adult materials for sale. Flynt, the brother of Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt, filed a federal suit July 23, claiming the zoning ordinance violated Jimmy Flynt’s constitutional rights.

The store began selling sexually oriented adult material July 26, and the city filed a criminal complaint in district court three days later.

Also pending in Fayette County Circuit Court is a suit the store filed against the city’s board of adjustment in January 2004 after the board rejected the store’s application to sell sexually oriented adult products. No hearings are scheduled in that case, according to court records.

Attorneys for both sides agreed to put off the federal case and try to address the constitutional issues in the two state-court cases.

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