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DOJ Re-Hires Bruce Taylor

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Feb 4, 2004 12:00 AM PST    Text size: 
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Department of Justice (DOJ) quietly re-hired federal prosecutor Bruce Taylor this week as the centerpiece of its renewed strategy to pursue increasing numbers of adult entertainment companies for obscenity.

XBiz spoke with a representative for the DOJ who confirmed that Taylor has been re-hired to serve as the DOJ's Senior Counsel to the Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Prosecution Department.

Taylor worked for the DOJ from 1989 to 1994 as a special attorney for the National Obscenity Enforcement Unit, and then later as an attorney for the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS). He prosecuted nearly 100 state and federal obscenity jury cases during the first part of his career, including numerous trials on prostitution, child pornography, and child sexual abuse.

For the past ten years, Taylor has been in the private sector devoting his time to organizations that advocate family values.

According to J.D. Obenberger, attorney and counselor at law, the re-hiring of Taylor could signal some internal struggles within the DOJ, in particular among the two assistant attorney generals who work directly below Attorney General John Ashcroft, namely Andrew Oosterbaan, who currently heads up the DOJ's CEOS unit.

"People have been trying to get Taylor back in the government for years," Obenberger told XBiz. "What people say about him is that he is not such a bad guy, but he is a bitter enemy of free expression."

According to Obenberger, Taylor is considered someone of historical importance to the adult entertainment world for his role in the federal obscenity case against Ruben Sturman, long considered the granddaddy of the porn industry who became the target of a ten-year obscenity prosecution and eventually died in prison.

According to those who have watched Taylor's career closely, the Sturman case put Taylor on the map as one of the leading obscenity prosecutors of the century.

The DOJ representative told XBiz that Taylor was hired as part of a renewed emphasis on pursuing obscenity cases, and that the DOJ has increased its resources in recent months to pursue a larger scope of prosecutions.

There has been widespread industry speculation that under the reign of Attorney General John Ashcroft, and with a potential second presidential term for George Bush afoot, that the adult industry is facing an increasingly aggressive governmental crackdown.

According to some sources, the DOJ recently hired just under two dozen prosecutors specifically trained in Internet law, although the DOJ representative said that that number was blown way out of proportion and that only a few attorneys have been hired as part of the obscenity prosecution team.

According to Greg Piccionelli of Brull Piccionelli Sarno & Vradenburgh, the rehiring of Taylor is unquestionably part of the DOJ's effort to launch a vigorous legal pursuit of the adult industry.

"It has only just started and it will continue to escalate," Piccionelli told XBiz, adding that he knows Taylor personally.

"The hiring of Bruce is a real win for the DOJ," he continued. "He is one of the smartest prosecutors that has ever prosecuted obscenity cases. I have great respect for him. But he will be a formidable opponent in action. He is smart, savvy, ethical, intelligent, and he will take no prisoners, believe me."

According to reports, under the shield of the Protect Act, the U.S. Government has never had a more powerful tool to put pornographers out of business.

"The road to hell is paved with good intentions," said Obenberger. "The guy obviously thinks he's doing God's work."

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