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Prosecutor Looks to Have Cambria Disqualified From Krial Obscenity Case

STAUNTON, Virginia — If Staunton prosecutor Raymond C. Robertson was itching for a fight, it looks like he’s going to get one.

In a push to rid Staunton of an adult business that opened Oct. 7 on Springhill Road, Robertson filed 24 obscenity charges on Nov. 1 against store owner Rick Krial and After Hours Video after undercover agents bought 12 movies from the establishment.

Krial hired local attorney Tate Love, who last week filed a motion with the Staunton Circuit Court to allow Paul J. Cambria Jr. and two of his associates as co-counsel.

Cambria is a nationally renowned attorney for the porn industry who has represented publisher Larry Flynt and also served as counsel for musicians DMX and Marilyn Manson, according to his Web site.

The Buffalo, N.Y., attorney has a reputation as a winner in the courtroom.

“He’s just an absolutely spectacular trial attorney,” said Jeffrey Douglas, a Santa Monica, Calif. attorney and chairman of the Free Speech Coalition.

Cambria is one of the top three obscenity lawyers in the country, Douglas said, and is not to be taken lightly. “He’s an extraordinarily formidable opponent.”

Obscenity prosecutions are rare, and with good reason, Douglas said.

He argues that Americans have spoken with their wallets in support of the adult industry. Estimates often point to more than $10 billion a year in annual sales.

“(Prosecution) ought to be even rarer,” Douglas said. “What you’re telling people is there’s an idea that’s too dangerous to think about. The notion is inconsistent with the fundamentals of this nation.”

Robertson, though, is pressing ahead with the prosecution of Krial and his company, LSP of Virginia, and it appears he isn’t about to let Cambria in the door just yet. On Tuesday, he filed an answer to Love’s court motion, arguing that Cambria should be disqualified from representing Krial.

“The Commonwealth has reason to believe that the legal fee of the aforesaid Buffalo, N.Y., attorney is being paid by a third party and not by the defendant,” Robertson wrote.

Robertson said if Cambria and his associates are being supported by the porn industry, based on past case law Krial will have an argument for appeal if convicted.

He also said that any plea agreements favorable to Krial would conflict with the interests of a third party from the porn industry, and noted the presence of outside attorneys “allows them to exert strong pressures against the independent judgment of defense attorney Tate Love.”

A hearing to determine if there is a conflict of interest is scheduled for Nov. 20.

John Pauly, a spokesman for the Pennsylvania-based Adult Freedom Foundation, said Robertson is off base. “He’s totally mistaken, because Cambria is 100 percent above board.”

Pauly described Cambria as a “bull” in the courtroom and said Robertson is going to have his hands full with the nationally known attorney.

“He’s a giant killer,” Pauly said. “The city can expect the fight of their life.”

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