Isaacs Jury Is Hung on Obscenity Charges
LOS ANGELES — U.S. District Judge George King has dismissed jurors in the Ira Isaacs obscenity case, declaring that they have failed to deliver a verdict and are hung as to reaching a decision.
Through the three-day trial, jurors viewed four movies Isaacs is accused of distributing and that the Justice Department has declared obscene. Jurors started deliberating on Monday.
At post time, it wasn't clear whether federal prosecutors will retry the case.
"Yes, I'm happy with the [outcome]" Isaacs told XBIZ. "But I've got to do it all over again. This is my existential fate — I'm going to be in court for the rest of my life."
Isaacs said jurors were deadlocked 10-2 in favor of finding him guilty.
Two of the jurors who voted against conviction were women, including a 75-year-old who entered the courtroom one day last week wearing a Christmas-themed sweater with snowmen.
Isaacs said the juror told him after the trial that her late husband was a maker of horror films, and that she found artistic value in the movies.
Isaacs, who operates Stolen Car Films and LA Media, pleaded not guilty to obscenity charges for videos allegedly distributed in 2007 and 2011.
The government in the case targeted the movies "Mako’s First Time Scat," "Hollywood Scat Amateurs #7," "Hollywood Scat Amateurs #1" and "Japanese Doggie 3 Way."
The long-running case was put on hold in 2010 after federal appellate Judge Alex Kozinski, a visiting judge at the district court, recused himself after it was revealed that he used a website to distribute sexually explicit photos and videos.
Later, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decided that Kozinski exercised “sound discretion” in declaring a mistrial in the Isaacs case because of “extraordinary circumstances.”
But federal prosecutors continued on with the case against Isaacs and last year made a superseding indictment to add five more counts to the original five from 2007. Prosecutors later narrowed the charges down to five.
Attorney Roger Jon Diamond, who has represented Isaacs through the years in the two obscenity trials, told XBIZ that the government shouldn't consider retrying the case.
"Ira Isaacs and I are very pleased that he was not convicted, but we do not want a third trial," he said. "We've already had two trials. Two's enough."
Diamond went on to say that the government from the get-go has played hardball in its attempt to get a victory on federal obscenity charges.
"This case arose from the original Kozinski trial," he said. "The government bullied its way through that case then and intimidated Judge Kozinski."
"We think the case should be dropped now."
Michael Grant, the lead Justice Department attorney trying the Isaacs case, could not be reached for XBIZ comment late Tuesday.