According to his lawyer, Washington D.C.-based Hank Asbill, Wedelstedt and his co-defendants were “released on personal recognizance and are free to travel nationwide.”
Goalie Entertainment, with offices in Denver and Chatsworth, Calif., officially offered no comment to questions about the coming trial, scheduled for May 9, although Asbill doubted the government will be able to process its evidence that quickly. He predicted opening arguments “of a four-to-six-week trial” happening no earlier than the end of this year, or the beginning of 2006.
Asbill told XBiz that of the so-called hundreds of thousands of documents seized by the federal government in the five-year investigation of Wedelstedt and Goalie, the government isn’t ready to hand over the discovery material the defense is entitled to by May 9.
The obscenity charges against Goalie stem from the sale of six videotapes and DVDs deemed by a grand jury to contain “patently offensive depictions of adults performing sexual conduct.” The titles named in the indictment are “American Bukkake 7,” “American Bukkake 8,” “Cumshots 4,” “Gangbang Angels 11,” “1 In The Pink, 1 In The Stink 5” and “Tits and Ass 8.”
Each obscenity count carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Jan LaRue, general counsel for Washington, D.C.’s Concerned Women for America, heralded the charges as a positive step in broadening courts’ definition of obscenity.
“The videos are the kind of hardcore pornography anybody can buy right off the shelf,” she said. “They don't involve the sort of bondage, rape and excretory subjects that [Justice] has been focused on. They've gotten the bar [of what’s considered obscene] down.”
Chatsworth’s Extreme Associates recently beat federal obscenity charges when, in January, Judge Gary Lancaster of Pittsburgh threw out all 10 charges against them for the marketing of films like “Ass Clowns 3” and “Forced Entry.”
A federal hearing convened by Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan) March 16 described Lancaster’s opinions as "cobbled together, hand-picked strands of 14th Amendment substantive due process."
In its efforts against Goalie, the government is attempting to avoid loopholes and not rely on First Amendment issues. The March 16 Brownback hearing featured the expert testimony of American Catholic University’s Prof. Robert Destro, who advised proceeding on anti-porn cases “by looking at this as a question of market regulation, and focus on the pornography industry."
"What you're really talking about is business transactions and lots of money and illegal behavior," Destro stated at the hearing. "And if you focus on it from that perspective, you never really even get to the First Amendment."
Asbill noted that the Dallas-area jury pool for the Goalie Entertainment case would be more favorable for a federal obscenity charge, rather than Goalie’s headquarters of Denver and Los Angeles.
“The theory is that Goalie has distributed obscene films to North Texas,” Asbill said. “And this type of ‘forum shopping’ is precisely what the government does when prosecuting fringe cases that push the envelope.”