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Greg Sakas: “They Came Out Looking Very Poor; They Were Like Idiots in There”

New Bern, North Carolina- Pure Bliss owner Greg Sakas’ trial has been continued until July 28.

Sakas was in court today and feels more optimistic now about winning his case than ever. Sakas’ store was raided twice in 2007. Sakas was charged with operating more than one adult business under one roof, maintaining a multi adult establishment, two counts of possession of a toxic substance and two counts of selling a toxic substance.

Under state law, only one category of adult merchandise, such as videos or sex toys, can be sold in one store.

The “toxic substance,” according to Sakas, was actually videotape head cleaner.

“We came out of the court today and July 28th is set as the next date,” says Sakas.

“They had their witnesses – police officers, but they’ve got problems on probable cause and the issuing of the two warrants which were not justified. The judge now has asked for briefs from both sides to review before he goes any further. We’re bringing up the fact that there was no probable cause. They did not check records as for the preponderance test, or the sales figures test to establish us an adult establishment.

“Neither time did they have any figures to back up their reasons for having the warrants served,” Sakas went on to say.

“If that’s the case, both warrants were issued under incorrect, improper documentation. Plus their witnesses got up there- the police undercover- and they were torn to shreds.

According to Sakas, the police at the time didn’t even count the merchandise in his store against the preponderance claim.

“Then how can you tell how much is of a general nature compared to adult? They said, well we can. How does that make for a credible witness?”

“Then with the ‘Rush’ issue, Rush is not a controlled substance in the state of North Carolina. And the undercover officers [detective Malydia Owen] who bought the stuff did not ask proper questions and, as such, we’re trying to have that thrown out of court.”

“Their witnesses never smelled the stuff, never said that they smelled the stuff; they said they enjoyed it,” Sakas went on to say.

“What does that mean? Plus it was head cleaner and the head cleaner was in the store for video cassette players. The items that are in the head cleaner- when they looked in the state manual to see what is considered as drug paraphernalia or substances- none of those appear. Then they sent it off to the FBI to have lab results sent back to them.

“But they never shared those lab results. They were supposed to have shared them within five days of receipt from the state lab. We just got them today in court. They suppressed that because there was no way they could use that in court.”

“I would say for us today we came out of court very much ahead of the game,” contends Sakas.

“Will we have this case thrown out of court? I don’t know.”

According to Sakas, there was a lot of information and detail missing from what the police report should have shown.

“On top of that the question came up where they got the funds for the purchases. They used drug money that was meant to be used for undercover investigations. About $40 was used to buy ‘Rush” and the rest was used to purchase dildos and magazines. So they used narcotics funds improperly. You think they got a problem with this case or not?”

“They were like idiots in there.”

Again, Sakas stresses the fact that the presiding judge, Peter Mack, was appointed by the state governor with no community pressures to bear from the Christian Coalition.

“If it’s just on a matter of law, we might have won a big one here, not only for us but the state of North Carolina. The whole thing was a joke. They don’t have a leg to stand on.”

According to Sakas, the court will now look at the depositions for both sides to see if there’s any reason to continue with the trial.

With his upcoming lawsuit against New Bern and its police chief next month, Sakas says he wants the minutes from Friday’s proceedings.

“Everything that comes out of this will be part of the lawsuit. Today they gave no reason why they should have ever raided the store the first time or the second time. This should give the city second thought that they ought to know what they’re doing before they get ready to raid a store and know if that store’s in compliance.”

Sakas claims that he’s one of the few chains in the state that is.

Sakas mentions that Phil Harvey of Adam & Eve donated $5,000 to his legal expenses.

“But Priscilla’s [another chain] ain’t done shit,” he adds. “And you’d think they’d be involved in it with all the stores they’ve got. I’m just fighting their battle right now. They can thank me later. Do I take that to heart? Yes. Because if it was the other way around, I’d have been helping them because it meant a lot to me, too.”

Sakas insists that he will not settle his lawsuit before it goes to trial.

“I want my damages and my attorney fees. I’ll settle with that. But I would have to say, today, they came out looking very poor. They had the police chief in there and at least seven detectives in there from vice and narcotics. We had at least seven other government officials from the city, the D.A.- this is all the money they’re spending to have them in court and we didn’t get to most of them.

“Then, on top of all that, here’s the police chief- he and I had a nice conversation. He said to me I hope you’re having a good day. I said oh I’m having a wonderful day, I hope you are. He goes I’m having a great day myself. Then in court I stared him down twice and he’s looking like what are you looking at me for. I just shook my head and smiled.”

Sakas says his attitude about pursuing justice is reflected in the Carpenter’s song, “We’ve Only Just Begun.”

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