Libertarian Party Called Stagliano Trial 'Ridiculous'

Jul 21, 2010 5:00 PM PST
WASHINGTON — The Libertarian Party issued a statement prior to the end of the John Stagliano obscenity trial calling the prosecution ridiculous and in violation of the U.S. Constitution.

Libertarian National Committee Chairman Mark Hinkle made some strong comments on the trial that ended in a dismissal of all charges against Stagliano and his company.

"The Obama Administration's prosecution of John Stagliano is a travesty,” he said.

"Federal anti-obscenity laws are unconstitutional in two ways. First, because the Constitution does not grant Congress any power to regulate or criminalize obscenity. And second, because the 1st Amendment guarantees the right of free speech.

"In addition, there appear to be serious irregularities in the judge's conduct of the trial. He is reportedly refusing to allow the defense to call expert witnesses; refusing to allow the jurors to see the entirety of the films, even though that is necessary to apply the legal tests required by earlier U.S. Supreme Court rulings; and refusing to allow the press to see evidence or the questionnaires that were used in jury selection.

"It is worth noting that this case was not initiated by citizen complaints. FBI agents just purchased the materials, watched them, and then brought charges. It's clear that the FBI budget needs to be cut.

The statement went on to say that Obama's Justice Department is no different than former President Bush's when it comes to prosecuting speech. “Obama has sustained the 'Obscene Prosecution Task Force,' which was created by the Bush Administration in 2005."

"Many Americans find it far more obscene that Democrats and Republicans are piling trillions of dollars of debt on our children and grandchildren, in order to further the creation and expansion of bad federal programs."

Hinkle said the president should be worrying more about these problems and less about prosecuting and censoring Stagliano.

"Different people will have different opinions about how valuable or harmful Mr. Stagliano's products are. Fortunately, no one is forced to watch them,” Hinkle said.

Under full disclosure the party noted that Stagliano is a contributor to the Libertarian National Committee.

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