Max Hardcore Trial Continues

Joanne Cachapero
TAMPA, Fla. — Segments from the final two videos, out of five titles in question, were played for the jurors in the Max Hardcore case today in Tampa. Portions of “Fist of Fury 4 — Euro Edition” were to be shown, followed by scenes from “Pure Max 19,” prompting the judge in the case to tell the jurors that they would spend most of the day watching the videos.

Hardcore and his MaxWorld Enterprises has been charged with five counts of using a computer to sell obscene matter and an additional five counts of delivering obscene material through the U.S. mail. Hardcore faces a maximum of 25 years for each count involving the computer and 45 years for conviction on the remaining counts.

After viewing the videos, the first defense witness was called to testify this afternoon. Retired adult performer Summer Luv recalled for the court her treatment by Hardcore when she shot more than a dozen scenes for him during her industry career. The former performer stated that she enjoyed working with the director, despite the extreme nature of the content that was filmed.

The jury in the case has been asked to determine whether the videos are obscene by community standards of the Tampa area. The DVDs were shipped to Tampa after being purchased by a postal inspector through Jaded Video, an online distributor, who then delivered the material by U.S. mail.

Neither Jaded Video nor its owners has been charged.

This afternoon, the defense called for acquittal on all counts against their client, arguing that the movies were purchased from Jaded Video, and not from Hardcore or his company MaxWorld Enterprises. They claim that Hardcore had no knowledge of where the DVDs would be shipped by the distributor, and that he shipped product to California-based Jaded Video by private shipping company UPS.

The prosecution argued that since Hardcore often addressed the audience directly in his DVDs, that he was aware that they would be widely disseminated, and that the DVDs contained directions for consumers to go to Hardcore’s website in order to purchase material. They said also that Hardcore’s website was linked to Jaded Video’s online distribution site.

Defense attorney Lou Sirkin argued also that the jury had not been shown the videos in their entirety, making it impossible to determine if they are obscene by the Miller test, which calls for potentially explicit works to be judged “as a whole.”

U.S. District Court Judge Susan Bucklew has said that she would consider the defense’s motion for dismissal of charges, and return a decision tomorrow.

The dispute on whether or not the jury should be required to view the DVDs in its entirety has been ongoing since the beginning of the trial.

On May 27, during the jury selection phase of the trial, Sirkin argued that the works must be considered as a whole.

As part of the defense team, attorney Jeffrey Douglas has since argued that the jury must witness the repetitive nature of the scenes, in order to understand how viewing the videos as a whole would result in blunting their initial shock at the material.

“That is part of the presentation,” Douglas stated. “That is part of the DVD.”

On May 28, which was the first day that jurors were required to view the videos, local Tampa newspapers reported the obvious discomfort of several members of the jury as the viewed as little as 40 minutes of the Hardcore titles.

At that point, the judge was reported to reconsider the decision to require jurors to watch nearly 8 ½ hours of videos directed by Hardcore, and had allowed for attorneys to decide what length of footage should be viewed by the jury.

However, defense attorneys remained steadfast in their intention to show videos in their entirety, even as the prosecution said they would just show segments of each DVD.

On Thursday, May 29, a male juror passed a note to the judge requesting that only segments of the videos be played. Then on Friday, the defense accused the judge of disallowing them from questioning the juror that had made the request. Accusing the judge of favoring the prosecution, they asked Judge Bucklew to step down or declare a mistrial.

The defense pointed out again, the judge’s seeming reluctance to allow the videos to be played in their entirety, which the attorneys consider to be integral to the case.

“This is an open trial and we felt that the court had taken that away from us,” Sirkin was reported to have stated.

The judge criticized the defense attorneys for including the name of the male juror in their motion. By law, jurors’ identities remain secret unless the juror decides to reveal their identity after the trial, and the defense responded that their action had been an inadvertent mistake.

Ironically, video that was shown on Friday drew some chuckles from the jury, when a scene was played where Hardcore receives a phone call from another man, accusing him of being crazy and sick for what he does to women in the videos.

Attorney Douglas argued that it was necessary for the jury to see the whole movies, in order to see that portions of the videos were “substantially more light-hearted” that scenes they had viewed previously.

And defense attorney Jennifer Kinsley added that the jury should also be made to view commercials that also appear on the DVD, that direct consumers to order the videos from Jaded Video, a distributor of Hardcore’s videos.

Arguing that it was Jaded Video that had sold the material, and not Hardcore or his company, Kinsley said, “These defendants did not sell this material to Tampa.”