Porn Obscenity Trial Dismissed

Friday, Jul 16, 2010  |  Updated 8:01 PM EDT
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Porn Obscenity Trial Dismissed

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The federal trial against John Stagliano on multiple obscenity counts was dismissed in U.S. District Court for D.C. Friday afternoon, the Washington City Paper reported.

Around 4:30 p.m. this afternoon, Judge Richard Leon decided that the prosecution’s case against Stagliano—and two related corporations, John Stagliano Inc. and Evil Angel Productions, Inc.—was “woefully lacking.” After the prosecution rested its case, defense attorneys requested that Leon dismiss all counts without seeing any further evidence, and he agreed. He dismissed the jury and thanked them for going through what he considered to be “extraordinary lengths” for the court.

That probably refers to the fact that the prosecution's case included screening pornography.

The case was rooted in a 1973 Supreme Court ruling that allowed community, not national, standards for defining obscenity. Stagliano had argued that the ruling does not make sense in the Internet age, since porn films are no longer viewable only in movie theaters.

"They were doing it for the wrong reasons," Stagliano said after the dismissal. "There wasn't any passion to prosecute it."

David Hudson, of the First Amendment Center, had said the case could be significant because Stagliano’s films are pretty standard stuff in pornography.

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