New Obscenity Charges Baffle Isaacs
LOS ANGELES — Fetish filmmaker Ira Isaacs, who just learned that he faces five more felony obscenity counts on top of three earlier charges, says he can't understand the motivation behind the new counts added by a federal grand jury.
"I honestly don't know what to think ... perhaps [the Justice Department] is just trying to rattle me," Isaacs told XBIZ on Tuesday. "The government is making this into a pretty big case when I'm just a peanut.
"I ask, for what purpose?"
The new federal indictment involving five counts filed Friday, which joins three counts from a previous indictment, allege that Isaacs, through his Stolen Car Films and LA Media companies, distributed by mail "Hollywood Scat Amateurs No. 7," "Hollywood Scat Amateurs No. 10," "Hollywood Scat Amateurs No. 38," "Trailers" and "Japanese Doggie 3 Way" — all deemed "obscene matter" by federal prosecutors.
The films were allegedly mailed by Isaacs' companies to consumers between January and the first week of April. And some of the films named in the superseded indicment also were named in the previous 2007 indictment against Isaacs.
With more counts levied against him in a superseding indictment, the case could raise considerable efforts and accumulating costs for both prosecutors and Isaacs defense, while yielding little gain if he is convicted. The new counts likely would not add to any possible sentencing from previous charges against him.
"With the additional counts, this trial is going to be a film fest," Isaacs said. "But the question here is this: Will the jurors be more upset at prosecutors for making them watch more movies or will they be with me?"
Isaacs said that the new counts added to his case could be payback for prosecutors because he wouldn't accept a plea deal in January. His trial at U.S. District Court in Los Angeles is slated to begin next month.
Attorney Roger Jon Diamond, Isaac's counsel, told XBIZ that it is not uncommon for prosecutors to levy more charges after prosecutorial deals don't go through.
"One recent example is the Barry Bonds case in San Francisco where more counts were piled on after the original indictment was made," Diamond said.
Isaacs said he's fortunate that his case will be tried in Los Angeles where jurors from the community as a whole are more liberal than other venues. The prosecution's efforts, on the other hand, originate from the Justice Department's Washington-based office.
"People from Los Angeles are smart people, and they respect what consenting adults do in their own home," he said. "[The government] has too much to lose with this case. If I win I would have the ability to play my movies in theaters all over Los Angeles."
When the case gets started, Isaacs won't be able to give expert testimony in his defense over federal obscenity violations, but he will be able to testify about what he aimed to achieve in creating the scat movies named in his indictment.
An earlier ruling by U.S. District Judge George King allows Isaacs to take the stand, a decision that allows him to offer "layperson testimony."
"The jury is going to decide whether I have credibility or not and why [the films] have artistic value," he said. "It's to my best interest that I can testify, because the government never has wanted me to talk on the stand. The prosecutors in the case just want to press a button on the DVD player and let the jury decide."
Isaacs, who has slugged through years of torment from federal prosecutors while exhausting all his personal funds defending himself, remains upbeat and ready for trial.
"I'm not scared anymore," Isaacs said. "If Martha Stewart can go to prison, so can Ira Isaacs — if convicted."