Isaacs Jurors Begin Watching Charged Videos
LOS ANGELES — The third day of Ira Isaacs' obscenity trial continued today with the presentation of two full-length movies to the jury, which will decide whether the charged films are obscene.
Justice Department attorney Michael Grant recalled FBI special agent James Myrick to the stand where he introduced government Exhibit No. 9, the DVD of “Makos First Time Scat,” which Myrick had purchased from one of Isaacs' websites in 2006 when he joined the now defunct Obscenity Task Force.
The prosecutor then admitted into evidence government Exhibit 12, which were transcripts of the movie because the film is in Japanese. He then distributed transcripts to the jury, which consist of six women and six men with four alternates. U.S. District Judge George King instructed the jury to follow along with the transcripts along with the video and to consider all the evidence as transcribed.
The two-hour video, which Isaacs did not produce, but did distribute, was then played for the court. It featured a Japanese women being slapped, choked, gagging on her own vomit, drinking urine from a man’s penis, swallowing cum and defecating and then eating her own feces.
At this point in the video, several jurors looked away and one juror covered his face with his hand and focused on his transcripts.
Another juror had his had turned away from the monitor for most of the video. During the defecation and feces scenes, most of the jurors kept their heads down.
It seemed that the women jurors watched the video more than the male jurors. There were several jurors who did continually watch the movie, while referring to the transcripts.
After a brief recess, attorney Grant introduced government exhibit 19, “Hollywood Scat Amateurs #7,” another movie he purchased from Isaacs' website in 2006. This film was one that Isaac’s produced and sold on one of his online companies that include Stolen Car Films and LA Media.
As the nearly two-hour movie played, those same jurors who kept their heads down for “Makos First Time Scat,” continued looking away from the monitor, while the others watched the film and only periodically turned their heads.
After a second recess, the prosecution called several witnesses to the stand in an attempt to show that Isaacs and his companies produced and mailed obscene material.
The first was a former employee of LA Media, Marlayna Trickett, who worked as a receptionist with the company from 2006 to 2007. She testified about her duties at LA Media, which included taking phone and online movie orders, making duplicates and shipping movies to customers using either the United Postal Service or the U.S. mail.
She testified that she was aware what kinds of movie the company made and she recalled the order placed by FBI Agent James Myrick, who used the name James Kirk to order the movie “Makos First Time Scat.” She remembered processing the order, making the duplication and shipping the movie to Alexandria, Va.
Trickett also testified about the day when the LA Media office was raided by FBI agents. Grant asked her to describe what she saw in several photographs taken during the raid. She testified the photos showed a shelf that held various mailing materials and the company’s editing and duplication machines used to make copies of movies.
Grant asked if she ever spoke to Isaacs about his work and she replied that he once told her that he had “located a niche market where he can make money.”
Grant asked Trickett if Isaacs ever talked about art or ever shipped his videos to art galleries or exhibits. Trickett replied that he did not.
On cross examination, Isaacs attorney Roger Diamond asked Trickett about her work environment. She testified that it was friendly, professional and she was always treated with respect. She also said that Isaacs cooperated with the FBI agents during the raid and gave them access to all company documents including model releases and driver’s license information.
The next witness called to the stand was Matthew Goward, Special Agent of the Cyber Crime Unit for the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section. He analyzes and investigates cybercrime. In February of 2011, he was assigned the task of examining copies of all the hard drives that were seized from the defendant’s office.
During his investigation, Goward had found evidence of a direct mail program on Isaacs' personal profile. The direct mail program allows the user to send large volumes of email. He testified about other evidence and information he had discovered including advertising and marketing materials.
Diamond on cross examination pointed out that obscenity and child exploitation are two different concepts and asked Goward how many obscenity cases he has worked on. Goward testified he has worked on a couple, personally investigating two or three cases in the last 10 years.
Prosecutors called the final witness of the day, LAPD Det. Kyle Lewison. He investigates illegal distribution of obscene materials. He testified that he has been investigating Isaacs and his companies since the raid in 2006. In 2011, he had made a couple of undercover online purchases of two movies.
During his investigation, he discovered that Isaacs used a private post office box to receive and send mail. He also was able to link the addresses on the mailers that he had received to Isaac’s companies.
In March of 2011, he made a second undercover buy and found out that it was Isaacs' company who had mailed the movies.
Meanwhile, Isaacs, who called the trial a “witch hunt,” seemed downright chipper and relaxed during the proceedings. He told XBIZ that it took him five years to prepare and he is ready.
“This is my third time,” he told XBIZ. “I’m not nervous anymore. I’ve been on the stand four times.”
He says this is an opportunity for him to stand up for unpopular speech and for the 1st Amendment.
“When you believe in what you’re saying, it’s easy,” he said.
He said trying to censor unprotected speech doesn’t make it go away.
“This is life,” he said. “People do this stuff and this is what this captures. There are parts of life that are happy, but we need disturbing too and that’s what art should do. Disgusting art is the best art because it makes you think.”
The fetish filmmaker also said that porn producers need to change the way they view themselves and need to consider themselves as filmmakers and artists rather than pornographers.
In order to get a conviction, the prosecutors need to convince all 12 jurors that the videos are obscene. Isaacs said that the movies in question have artistic value and can’t be viewed as obscene.
He said he doesn’t think he’ll be convicted, but if he does, he’ll do his time.
“If I have to go, I’ll go,” he said.
The trial continues tomorrow in downtown Los Angeles at the Roybal U.S. District Courthouse located at 255 E. Temple St.