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Movies by Mail Owners Due in Court June 29

SALT LAKE CITY, UT [WKYC.com]– Sami R. Harb and Michael Harb have been charged with one count of selling obscene material.

The men have been running an internet sales business called “Movies by Mail” out of Cleveland.

The investigation started last summer, when agents working as a part of the FBI’s Adult Obscenity Task Force in Washington, D.C., received information that “Movies By Mail” was offering pornographic movies for sale through a website.

Agents working with the task force purchased DVDs on the internet site and the investigation continued.

A summons will be issued to the Harbs to appear before Magistrate Judge Paul Warner in U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City on June 29, 2007, at 10:30 a. m.

The potential maximum penalty for a conviction under the obscenity charge is five years in federal prison.

Defendants charged in complaints are presumed innocent unless or until proven guilty in court.

Back story: Two Ohio men who own a pornographic movie web site face obscenity charges in Utah that could land them in prison if convicted.
Sami and Michael Harb are charged with mailing three pornographic DVD’s to an undercover FBI agent in Utah that met the Supreme Court standard for obscenity.

To meet the standard, prosecuters have to prove the videos have no redeeming value, are patently offensive, and violate community standards of decency.

“This is not a prosecution or an assault on free speech but instead a prosecution of what the Supreme Court and our laws have identified as illegal and that is obscenity,” U.S. Attorney for Utah Brett Tolman said in announcing the criminal complaint Thursday.

Tolman said nearly 700 videos were shipped to Utah by the Harb’s website, “Movies by Mail.” He added that prosecuters are going after the Harbs and not their customers. If convicted, the Harbs could face a prison sentence up to five years.

“That type of material has no artistic or literary or redeeming quality and should not be easily obtainable in Utah,” Tolman said.

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