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Trial approaches for former Vegas producer John Stagliano

Richard Abowitz writes on – Covering entertainment in Las Vegas I have a very high tolerance for the rights of adults to enjoy themselves.

My work has put me in an interesting position regarding the adult film industry. For a decade I have covered the adult industry’s big annual convention and awards show in Vegas (Adult Entertainment Expo and AVN Awards).

But I am not someone who watches many movies at all including any adult ones. At this point I have seen some individual scenes, and was surprised by the level of violence and circus tricks rather than the sort of generic sex movie I expected. That probably speaks to my lack of imagination or naivete (not sure which).

But that did not change in any way my fundamental view that adults choosing to make movies that get sold to other adults are not the government’s business. And, to legislate otherwise puts the government in the absurd position of movie critic. The codes of conduct in the adult industry between pornographers and the prosecutors show how ridiculous the current law. I am about to get graphic—though not explicit— and so if you are easily offended skip the next paragraph which will be an example of what I mean.

Apparently, pornographers know that prosecutors will never claim that inserting four fingers is obscene. However, if you throw in a thumb then it is “fisting,” which results in a prosecution.

Four fingers– legal/thumb and four fingers– obscenity. How many prosecutors in the United States buy sex videos with taxpayer dollars to sit around watching them while counting digits in scenes? Isn’t that beyond ridiculous? And, there are other examples, resulting in adult films getting made in American and European versions to comply with differing silly laws.

“Milk Nymphos” and the other films John Stagliano is charged with distributing represent a tiny fraction of the hundreds of sex films his company, Evil Angel, distributed. To try to guess why one sex film is fine but another is worth the time of the Justice Department and the legal system defies sense and I am not going to try.

Before he was prosecuted, Stagliano produced “The Fashionistas” show at Krave at Planet Hollywood’s mall. It remains the best adult show ever mounted in Vegas. He employed numerous dancers and kept a showroom and club open with his cash.

After covering Stagliano for years in Vegas, and following his show closing, I developed a social friendship with him which I want to note as full disclosure. Ideally, I would not feel the need to write about his case. But the usual defenders of the First Amendment in the media have hardly rallied to his cause. And, in 2010, with all that can be found on the Internet, the government is really trying to put a person in a jail cell for distributing “Milk Nymphos,” and other films like that. Today Stagliano will be on Fox Business Network talking about his case, and this morning I plan to call him to get an update and post it here. He goes on trial July 7.

This is the site set up for his defense fund:


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