New Evidence at Center of Isaacs Sentencing Delay

Rhett Pardon

LOS ANGELES — Fetish filmmaker and distributor Ira Isaacs' sentencing was put on hold last month because federal prosecutors intended to present evidence to support an enhanced prison sentence.

U.S. District Judge George King said he pulled the case from the Aug. 6 calendar because he declined to proceed with the sentencing hearing "without a better understanding of what the government intends to prove and how" by introducing new evidence.

Federal prosecutors have asked for a two-level increase in sentencing under Federal Sentencing Guidelines Section 3A1.1.

The section applies to those convicted of a federal crime where the defendant knew or should have known that a victim involved in an offense was a "vulnerable victim."

The vulnerable victim referenced in the government's pre-sentencing report presumably would be an actor or actors involved in films deemed obscene by a federal jury.

Isaacs was found guilty in April on five counts of violating federal obscenity laws over the distribution of  "Mako’s First Time Scat," "Hollywood Scat Amateurs #7," "Hollywood Scat Amateurs #1" and "Japanese Doggie 3 Way."

It was the third obscenity trial for the distributor and producer, who all along contended that the works he had been charged with have artistic value and can't be deemed obscene. The first two ended with mistrials.

In reasoning why Isaacs' sentencing was taken off the calendar, King said that Isaacs should be given the benefit of knowing prosecutors' evidence so as to be able to be prepared to respond to it.

As a result, King on Friday directed federal prosecutors to meet and confer with Isaacs counsel, Roger Jon Diamond, the evidence the government intends to offer, including the substance of any testimony by any witnesses, in support of the Section 3A1.1 enhancement.

King ordered the parties to provide a joint status report on their meetings over new evidence or testimony within three weeks.

He also asked for federal prosecutors to enter evidence in support of its assertion that Isaacs had made post-verdict sales of videos that it claims are obscene.

"This evidence shall show when the sales were made, which videos were the subject of such sales, how many such sales were made, and the connection between those sales and the defendant," King said in the order.

"Moreover, to enable the court to determine whether the post-verdict videos that were sold are allegedly the same sort of video as those found to be obscene by the jury at trial, the government shall lodge a DVD that contains the videos sold post-verdict on which the government bases its claim that defendant should not receive any reduction for acceptance of responsibility."

Kings said he would take review of the evidence and determine whether an evidentiary hearing will be necessary.

"If so, we will set a time for the evidentiary hearing, and will proceed with sentencing immediately after such hearing," King said.

Federal prosecutors have recommended that Isaacs serve a term of up to seven years and three months in prison, as well as a three-year term of supervised release and a $10,000 fine.

Diamond, however, has contended that the court shouldn't consider any post-verdict activity. He has asked the court to grant full probation or, alternatively, a split sentence to the 60-year-old Isaacs, who has never spent time in prison.

Last month, just prior to the scrapped Aug. 6 sentencing hearing, King made a preliminary order ruling Isaacs to forfeit all of his websites —, and, among 40 others — and copyrights, as well as the movies deemed obscene. Isaacs also must forfeit all computers, servers, props and video equipment.