Stagliano Prosecutors to Rest Case Tomorrow

Jul 15, 2010 4:00 PM PST
WASHINGTON — When court resumed in the afternoon session in the John Stagliano case, one issue was up for discussion: Would Judge Leon declare a mistrial due to the jury's viewing of evidence that was now dismissed, the trailer to “Fetish Fanatic 5.”

At question also was whether the charge of making pornography accessible to minors — a count that was also thrown out — was so toxic to the jury that it would prejudice them to the remaining obscenity issue in the case.

Defense attorney Paul Cambria argued that during the voir dire process, the court saw how “volatile” the access to pornography issue was to potential jurors. That was the reason why the defense asked in pre-trial motions to separate the two issues at trial, a motion they lost.

In the end, however, the judge denied the defense’s motion for a mistrial, saying that “curative instructions” to the jury to disregard the evidence, which included the trailer as well as still photos of the website, would be enough to resolve the issue since the jury would have been asked to keep the charges separate when during deliberations.

The case continued with the government calling its two final witnesses. A third witness couldn’t make it to the stand being “two hours away” so prosecutors Pamela Satterfield and Bonnie Hannan agreed not to use his testimony.

FBI agent Daniel Bradley was cross-examined by the defense and admitted that he wasn’t a resident of Washington and that he viewed the two movies at an FBI field office in Manassas, Va. Bradley, a resident of Falls Church, Va., testified the movies were mailed to a post office box in Washington.

Another FBI agent picked up the box containing the movies “Milk Nymphos” and “Storm Squirters 2” and delivered them to Bradley, he said. The agent recounted he couldn’t recall where he was when he first opened it.

Attorney for the defense, H. Louis Sirkin, asked Bradley when he last viewed the two videos. Bradley said he was told by prosecutor Satterfield that the "judge" wanted to have detailed descriptions of the scenes from the movie and therefore, despite having a detailed report he’d already written, re-watched the films “last Wednesday.”

It was this comment that became an issue for the court.

After a conference at the bench, outside the presence of the jury, Judge Leon told the court he was going to advise the jury he said no such thing to Satterfield, and that he needs to correct the impression that he was involved in the preparation of the case for the government.

Satterfield, on the other hand, denied having said any such thing like that to Bradley.

Stagliano attorneys asked the judge to order Satterfield to take the stand over Bradley's testimony.

Leon said it wouldn’t be the first time a witness misunderstood a communication from the prosecutors and that he wasn’t going to decide today whether the defense would have the right to call Satterfield to the stand.

Leon said he would issue a ruling on the matter tomorrow, along with another decision regarding whether adult actress Lorelei Lee can testify under her stage name without revealing her birth name.

In addition to Bradley’s testimony, the jury also got to hear from Los Angeles Police vice squad Sgt. Michael Ozaki, who investigates obscenity probes.

Ozaki testified he attended both Erotica LA and the Adult Entertainment Expo in Las Vegas to investigate potential obscenity in the new films that are released by distributors.

Photos of the Evil Angel booths were displayed to the jury as was photos of their headquarters in Van Nuys, Calif. There was even a shot of Karen Stagliano, the wife of the defendant, shown entering the headquarters. Defense attorneys then had Ozaki identify Karen to the jury as she was sitting in the audience.

With no further witnesses to call, the government plans to rest its case tomorrow. Prosecutors would have rested today if jurors had not been released for the day.

Court resumes tomorrow at 10 a.m.

Leon estimates that jury could have the case potentially by Monday afternoon.

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