After Hours Obscenity Case Reaching an End

Tod Hunter
STAUNTON, Va. — The ongoing case between Staunton prosecutor Raymond Robertson and Rick E. Krial, owner of After Hours Video, which led to convictions on obscenity counts last August, could be nearing its end.

Krial has confirmed that he has agreed not to appeal his obscenity convictions and in return will not be prosecuted on felony charges. Krial also has agreed not to reopen After Hours, which has been "temporarily" closed since the trial ended.

"If the store stayed open, they were going to come at me with all the charges they could," Krial said.

The trial centered around videos purchased at After Hours Video by undercover agents in October 2007. Krial and his company were found guilty and store manager Tinsley Embrey was acquitted of two charges by the jury.

Two months after the verdicts were handed down, the defense team — which included 1st amendment lawyers Paul Cambria and Louis Sirkin — filed motions to have the convictions set aside, citing numerous "improper statements" that were aimed at "inflaming the passions and prejudices of jurors."

On Monday, Krial said the fight is over.

"Nobody needs this kind of aggravation," he said.

Krial said other businesses in the city were selling adult videos at the time he applied for and was granted his business license, and the charges against him were a surprise.

"I didn't expect it because it was already being sold in Staunton," said Krial, who said he owns 11 adult enterprises in Maryland and Virginia. "I played by the rules the whole time."

In August 2007 when Robertson heard of Krial's intentions, the prosecutor — a longtime foe of adult material dating back to the 1970s — vowed he was "not going to allow dissemination of pornographic material in Staunton." In November 2007, Krial and his company were indicted by a special grand jury on 16 felonies and eight misdemeanors.

Krial said he agreed to the terms of the deal about two weeks ago, and said his attorney, Cambria, is expected to sign off on the court motion this week. Robertson declined to discuss the issue until an order is signed by Circuit Judge Thomas H. Wood ending the case.