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Hustler pleads not guilty

Lexington- Attorneys for Jimmy Flynt’s Hustler Hollywood store pleaded not guilty yesterday to violating a zoning ordinance that prohibits selling adult material.

Yesterday’s arraignment in Fayette District Court got the ball rolling on just one of possibly three pending cases involving the Hustler store, near Interstate 75 and Winchester Road.

During yesterday’s hearing, one of Flynt’s attorneys, H. Louis Sirkin of Cincinnati, said he was confident his client would beat the criminal charge because the city’s zoning ordinance is unconstitutional.

“Certainly if the zoning law is unconstitutional then he’s not guilty of any crime — there’s no law,” Sirkin said.

Judge Bruce Bell scheduled a pretrial hearing in district court for Sept. 23.

Meanwhile, Cracker Barrel restaurant, which sits near the Hustler store, has jumped into the fray by joining in Flynt’s pending lawsuit against the city in Fayette Circuit Court.

Cracker Barrel’s attorney, T. Bruce Simpson Jr. of Lexington, said the restaurant wanted to become a part of the lawsuit to protect its interests.

On Aug 13, Fayette Circuit Judge James D. Ishmael Jr. sustained Cracker Barrel’s motion to intervene. Yesterday, Simpson said he is eager to get the case resolved.

“Right now, they have an adult bookstore, and he’s operating with impunity,” he said. “I don’t understand why they’re not being cited for every day they’re open.”

Cracker Barrel also filed a notice of appeal against the city, Hustler Hollywood and M.D. Enterprise Inc., the applicant and builder of the Hustler store.

“We believe the building inspector made an error when it granted the Hustler store the right to open — even to sell non-adult-oriented gifts,” Simpson said.

Simpson said the zoning ordinance allows for one gift shop in that area and “we have it. Therefore, Hustler could not even have a gift shop. They could have a juice bar, though.”

Cracker Barrel made both filings about a week after Flynt began restocking his shelves with adult items. Flynt’s brother is Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt.

Last winter, Jimmy Flynt’s attorneys filed the appeal in Fayette Circuit court after the board of adjustment refused to give him a permit to open with X-rated materials.

Then, in March, the city council approved a zoning amendment to prohibit adult bookstores, video stores, cabarets and adult dancing at interstate highway interchanges.

On July 16, Flynt opened the store at 2240 Elkhorn Road, near I-75, without any pleasure devices, movies or pornographic magazines.

After being in business for about a week, Flynt began stocking the shelves of the store with such items. Flynt also filed a motion in federal court to block the ban on adult materials near interstate highways. It alleges the city violated Flynt’s constitutional rights when it passed the zoning prohibition.

Last week, U.S. District Judge Karl Forester issued a stay, meaning that the case is no longer on the federal court’s active docket but could be reinstated. In agreement, attorneys for the city and Flynt had argued that constitutional issues could be resolved in state courts instead of federal court.

Despite the swirling litigation, Sirkin said, he remains hopeful that in time “everybody will realize that they’re really a good neighbor.”

“I don’t know why so many people are so up in arms about it,” Sirkin said of the store. “It has a little cafe and it has T-shirts and it has a little bit more, but so do the convenience markets — they carry sexually explicit magazines.”



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