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Jury Selection Begins in Ira Isaacs Obscenity Trial; Presiding Judge Alex Kozinski has Libertarian Views

LOS ANGELES — Jury selection is expected to begin in a downtown Los Angeles courtroom Monday in the trial of an adult filmmaker facing federal obscenity charges for selling films featuring bestiality and defecation.

Ira Isaacs, 57, a Bronx native who lives in the Hollywood Hills, is charged with four counts of importing or transporting obscene material for sale or distribution and two counts of importing or transporting obscene material.

According to his July 2007 indictment, Isaacs does business as Stolen Car Films and LA Media and sold the four allegedly obscene films in question between May 2004 and October 2006.

The facts of the case are not in dispute. Isaacs has admitted selling the movies to FBI agents who purchased them on Web sites while using undercover credit cards.

The jury will be asked to decide whether or not the films are obscene under federal law. If any are found to have any “literary, scientific or artistic value,” then that work will not meet the federal standard of obscenity established by a 1973 Supreme Court ruling.

Prosecutors are expected to show the jury the four films in their entirety — approximately six hours in total.

“All they’re going to do is turn on a DVD machine and hope the jury is going to be so shocked and disgusted and offended that they’re going to throw me in prison,” Isaacs told the Los Angeles Times.

He said he hopes that jurors will be shocked — he’s a self-described “shock artist” — but also that they will see artistic value in the work.

Isaacs predicted that many jurors would not be able to stomach viewing the movies, some of which feature acts of bestiality and defecation.

“It’s going to be a circus,” he told The Times. “I think I’d freak out if I had to watch six hours of the stuff.”

Roger Jon Diamond, Isaacs’ attorney, last week described the films as “very disgusting…the worst.” But Diamond has also blasted the U.S. Justice Department for prosecuting Isaacs, claiming his client is the victim of the Bush administration’s desire to satisfy social conservatives.

The judge presiding over the case is Alex Kozinski, the chief judge of the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. Kozinski, whom President Ronald Reagan nominated to the court in 1985, has a reputation of having libertarian views.

Isaacs’ trial is expected to last up to five days. He is expected to testify as an expert witness.

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