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Will The Ira Isaacs Trial That Begins Next Week Take a Dump?

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It’s official. The Ira Isaacs obscenity trial begins next week.

According to Potential jurors will be required to answer 39 questions posed to them as Isaacs’ trial gets underway at the federal courthouse in downtown Los Angeles.

Five of the 39 questions that require written answers from potential jurors discuss sexually explicit activities, as well as the ability to verbalize them with other jurors. One question asks whether the potential juror can stand to watch the movies, which would last more than one hour.

Isaacs, a fetish filmmaker and distributor, faces 10-counts stemming from a federal obscenity indictment, where the government asserts four movies are obscene.

Back story: If taking a dump is art, I just unloaded a really big Pablo Picasso this morning.

Video producer and self proclaimed Shock/Schlock Artist Ira Isaacs, is a man ready to sit on the porcelain bowl of justice based on that principle.

By doing the Lord’s work in producing movies for the fecally inclined, and often comparing himself to James Joyce and D.H. Lawrence in the process [both of whom faced obscenity trials in their day], Isaacs is going before a jury of his peers in Los Angeles next week.

At that time, Isaacs will attempt to convince the multitudes that what’s good for the goose, generally goes through a goose. In comparing his experiences to some Kafkaesque nightmare, Isaacs likens himself to the character Josef K. in The Trial, Kafka’s existential drama which has a pornography theme running through it.

A graduate of the cocka-diddy-poo-poo school of art, Isaacs also believes that what he does has some higher meaning in the scheme of things. If that’s the case, brother, have I got a canvas for your bathroom wall gallery. By the way, my personal favorite is an impressionist landscape titled “Dropping the Cosby Kids Off at the Pool”.

We’ve been reading about Mr. Isaacs since July of 2007 when the Department of Justice announced his indictment.

Isaacs, doing business as Stolen Car Films and LA Media, was charged with four counts of using an interactive computer service to sell and distribute obscene films on DVD, two counts of using a common carrier to distribute obscene DVDs, and two counts of failing to label sexually explicit DVDs with the name and location of the custodian of records containing age and identification information for performers in sexually explicit films.

Translation: Isaacs was pinched for featuring videos of women being urinated upon and eating feces.

Holy “Two Girls and 1 Cup”, you say. And if you want to test your gag reflexes, by all means watch that clip and draw you own conclusions. This cultural phenomenon prompted a shit storm on the Internet several years ago and became an instant viral hit. And it certainly will be one of the yardsticks brought to measure the Isaacs case. But to find a prospective juror who hasn’t barfed to it and formed a highly negative opinion? That’s another question.

Is the prosecution against Isaacs an out and out smear? Will they throw anything out there to see what floats? So many preconceived notions to eliminate, and it may get to the point where expert witnesses are brought in to discuss whether or not Thomas Crapper, modern plumbing’s Johnny-on-the-spot, really lent his name to taking a crap.

[You would think so, but, he didn’t, actually. It comes from an old Dutch word.]

Isaacs, a Brooklyn native, began distributing shock art films from Europe at a time when consumers were wasting potential storylines by deploying the flush handle. In discussing his vocation, Isaacs tells a story about the Italian conceptual artist Piero Manzoni who canned his feces in 90 tins and sold them for the price of their weight in gold.

As another illustration, Isaacs explains how Kiki Smith did a sculpture in the Whitney Museum a couple years ago of a woman on all fours with a ten foot turd coming out of her ass.

“There are all these things that are scatological in legitimate artistic venues,” intones Isaac probably with a straight face.

“If you want to write a great classical music piece, you’re competing with Mozart,” he adds. Only God knows who you’re competing with when pinching off a loaf, though.

No matter. The maximum penalty for each count that’s been leveled against Isaacs is five years in federal prison.

Some of the movies in question bear quaint titles like “Gang Bang Horse – ‘Pony Sex Game'” and “Mako’s First Time Scat”. If this, literally, was Mako’s first time, the intestinal backup this poor woman must have been suffering.

If that isn’t enough for jurors to consider, Isaacs was also hit with even more counts of obscenity.

Movies like “Hollywood Scat Amateurs No. 7,” “Hollywood Scat Amateurs No. 38,” “Trailers” and “Japanese Doggie 3 Way” – are now being deemed “obscene matter” by federal prosecutors who obviously have little appreciation for the genre. These latest films were allegedly mailed by Isaacs’ company to consumers between January and the first week of April of last year.

A lawyer may have been right on the money for once when Isaacs’ attorney Roger Jon Diamond called it “a waste of taxpayer money”. Diamond may not have even been aware of his own pun.

For the record, Isaacs was ready to go to trial in June of 2008, but another funny thing happened. Judge Alex Kozinski, evidently an artist in his own right, acknowledged that his own website featured sexually explicit images.

Before the Isaacs trial got started, Kozinski was primarily known in contests of judicial Trivial Pursuit as the judge who once appeared on The Dating Game and got stood up by his date. But the Isaacs case changed all that.

Kozinski, known in some trendy Bohemian circles as A-Ko, granted a joint prosecution and defense motion to suspend the trial after time was asked for to explore a potential conflict of interest. All this resulted when Kozinski, ratted on by political enemy Cyrus Sanai, not to be confused with the place where Moses received the Ten Commandments, admitted in an LA Times interview that he had posted questionable material for private use and that he shared some of it with friends.

What really compromised A-Ko, was the fact that, besides the usual procession of photos of naked women on all fours painted to look like cows, a video of a half-dressed man cavorting with a sexually aroused farm animal, masturbation and public sex, a slide show featuring a stripteasing tranny and a photo regalia of women’s crotches, there was content with themes of defecation and urination. Ouch. Score one for Sanai and the prosecution.

At the time, Kozinski thought the material was “funny” but later admitted it was inappropriate.

It’s a shame, too, because Kozinski would have been a hoot on the bench had the case carried to full term. During the course of the first trial, which was called on account of bullshit, A-Ko admonished prosecutor Kenneth Whitted to lighten up that it was only a trial. When it comes down to it, A-Ko strikes you as being a pretty funny guy and the type of judge you’d want sitting on your death penalty proceedings.

The man who was supposed to be the original judge on the case, George King, then approved a government motion for a new trial. The probability of a bridge tournament being placed on the Folsom prison activities roster has about the same chance as an obscenity conviction happening in Los Angeles.

Proving that when it rains it pours, however, there were three high profile cases in 2002 that could have gone to court.

One was the Seymore Butts case where Diamond was also the defense attorney, and Tampa Tushy Fest 1, which had a fisting scene in it, was drawing the ire of LA City Attorney Debra Sanchez.

The second case in 2002 involved JM Productions in which owner Jeff Steward pled “no contest” to a charge of creating a public nuisance, and gave a $1,000 “donation” to the state’s Victim Restitution Fund. The charges of obscenity, stemming from a raid in 2001 in which the Los Angeles Police Department seized copies of JM’s Liquid Gold 5 and American Bukkake 11, were dropped.

Then Max Hardcore, if you recall, was charged in 1998 by the city of Los Angeles with child pornography and the distribution of obscenity as a result of Max Extreme 4.

The fact that the actress was over the age of 18 was not an issue; the charges were based solely on the actress portraying a character who was underage. Just before the case was brought to trial, also in 2002, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the statute prohibiting adults from portraying children in films and books was unconstitutional. Based on the Ashcroft v. Free Speech Coalition ruling, the child pornography charges against Max were dismissed.

The day the Butts case was scheduled to be heard, Butts and his attorney Diamond announced that they had also reached a settlement with the city attorney’s office.

Many in the industry figured Seymore had turned rat. And there was even a lengthy Internet battle of words that went on between Butts and Rob Black who owned Extreme Associates at the time. Black eventually backed down.

Charged with two counts of obscenity, Butts, who originally wanted a jury trial, also pled guilty to a public nuisance charge and paid a $1000 fine to a victims restitution fund. As part of the deal, Butts also agreed to offer an edited version of “Tampa Tushy Fest, Part 1” for California buyers and was free to sell the unedited version in California without fear of future obscenity charges.

In a similar vein, Isaacs has been offered a plea deal, his to serve four months but says he couldn’t do that.

“I looked in the mirror and said, ‘Can I live with myself after lying to the judge just to save myself a lot of inconvenience?’ And I said I just can’t do it, I can’t live with myself as a person knowing that I’m not standing up for something. That’s just not me, and maybe to my own downfall.”

Had Seymore Butts’ Tampa Tushy Fest case gone to a jury trial, Diamond also planned to enter as evidence, books and medical treatises on the subject of fisting. So those earlier comments about scat experts testifying on Isaacs’ behalf and what they might say were made only half in jest.

The most important aspect of this trial, besides an Isaacs acquittal, is what amounts to a Custer’s Last Stand for the Feds. After the Dept. of Justice’s announcement to get out of the porn prosecution business and after their miserable showing at the Stagliano trial, this basically amounts to their Last Hurrah.

If nothing else, with the Isaac indictments we have least have come to know what caprophagia means and why 10% of dogs engage in it.

But don’t look at us for bringing the subject up. That information falls under the guidelines of expert testimony.


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