Stagliano's Work Must Be Taken 'As a Whole,' Attorneys Say

May 3, 2010 1:30 PM PST
WASHINGTON — John Stagliano's attorneys have asked a federal judge to require jurors view each of the DVDs and video clips as charged in his obscenity indictment.

Stagliano and his companies — Evil Angel Productions Inc. and John Stagliano Inc. — were indicted on charges ranging from illegal possession and distribution to the sale of obscene materials.

The Evil Angel founder faces up to 32 years in federal prison for distributing "Milk Nymphos, " "Storm Squirters 2: Target Practice" and a promotional video for similar material on his website.

His attorneys, in a pretrial motion Friday to U.S. District Judge Richard Leon, claim that Stagliano's due process and 1st Amendment rights are in jeopardy if the jurors aren't able to see the videos taken "as a whole" as interpreted by the U.S. Supreme Court in Miller vs. California and its progeny.

Federal prosecutors, according to court motions, are seeking permission to show a portion of each video to the jury in open court, rather than show the jury the entire bodies of work. They are proposing to allow the case agent to present oral summaries of the videos and to read aloud the films’ descriptions from the Evil Angel website.

Stagliano attorneys say they don't object to the case agent reading the films’ descriptions from the site but object to allowing the government to only play portions of each film.

Stagliano attorneys also answered prosecutors' contention that in the interest of judicial economy his attorneys could show more of the videos upon cross-examination.

"With all due respect to the government and to the interests of the jury and the court, it is submitted that when balanced against the potential loss of liberty and other significant consequences associated with a criminal trial, the loss of a few hours of time spent watching these films and the 'unnecessary embarrassment' of having the jurors and others watch these films in their entirety in open court must give way," Stagliano attorneys wrote.

Stagliano's counsel further said that alleviating the government's burden to convict Stagliano would "potentially open up the possibility of a mistrial and unnecessary appeals."

Staliano's trial is slated to begin July 7 in Washington.

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