Judge: Cambria Can Serve in Va. Obscenity Case

Tod Hunter
STAUNTON, Va. — Circuit Judge Humes J. Franklin Jr. ruled this afternoon that 1st Amendment lawyer Paul Cambria Jr. can serve as co-counsel representing Rick Krial in his obscenity case, after the prosecution claimed last week that Cambria should be disqualified from the case.

Krial and his company, LSP of Virginia, have been charged with 16 felony counts of obscenity and four misdemeanors in connection with his store, After Hours Video.

Staunton prosecutor Ray Robertson, who has opposed Cambria's involvement in the case, argued that Cambria represents producers of the videos that were purchased at Krial’s store so Cambria could not provide his client unbiased advice, suggesting that Cambria might reject a plea deal by Krial to protect the producers.

Cambria responded that Krial’s decision to reject Robertson’s plea deal happened well before he entered the picture.

“I didn’t have anything to do with advising him,” Cambria said. “If there was something like that of substance, rather than disqualify me, another lawyer should advise him, and I think Mr. Love [Krial’s local attorney] has filled that role.”

Prosecutor Robertson postulated hypothetical scenarios of future plea bargaining, federal investigations and appeals of guilty verdicts. Franklin asked Robertson no fewer than four times, “Where are your facts?”

Robertson also suggested that parties in the porn industry, not Krial, were paying Cambria’s fees. The judge referred to a sworn affidavit in which Krial states he alone is paying Cambria.

“How does he know?” asked Robertson.

“He’s paying; he ought to know,” the judge said.

After the hearing, Cambria told reporters he’s looking forward to arguing Krial’s case.

“There’s so much culture here and it’s a sophisticated city, and sophisticated people are not afraid to make choices,” Cambria said. “Any time a person’s ability to make a choice is on the line, it’s worth it to lend whatever competency you have.”

Cambria said the case should go to trial around Valentine’s Day, adding, “an appropriate day.”