As a result of Guhn’s guilty plea, he faces three to five years in state prison. The money laundering charge relates to “unlawful financial transactions” from profits he made while owning the Cash Titans program. Guhn sold the affiliate program and its related sites shortly after his arrest in July 2006.
“It’s always a personal decision [to accept a plea deal] on the part of the individual,” Guhn’s lawyer Jerry Mooney said. “What the legal team does is map out risks, the different possible outcomes, what those mean to the client and the state of the expected evidence against them. You have to weigh all those things against [the offer] on the table.”
Prosecutors offered Guhn the deal on June 20 and he accepted it yesterday afternoon. Guhn was facing allegations of obscenity, promoting prostitution, a drug charge, racketeering and money laundering.
“When faced with racketeering and improper monetary transactions, what would you rather have on your record?” Mooney asked.
The risk for his client, Mooney said, was great because the prosecution had planned to call more than 100 witnesses some of who were prepared to testify that Guhn procured prostitutes and supplied some performers with drugs.
Since his arrest nearly two years ago, Guhn has continued to maintain his innocence.
Assistant State Attorney Russ Edgar was prepared to show the court that Global Technologies Inc., doing business as Ray Guhn Productions and Cash Titans, was a highly profitable Internet operation that made $10 million in its first five years, while it shot content in homes, at hotels, along the interstate and in public in Pensacola and Pace, Fla.
According to Mooney, Guhn had been offered deals before, but “for the first time, there was something on the table that was worth seriously evaluating. And we did that, Mr. McCowen did that, and we came to the determination that although we hate the concept of any loss of liberty, but when weighed against the risks, I think he made the right decision.”
Mooney said that he did not believe Guhn’s guilty plea would have any sort of chilling effect on adult content production in south Florida because Guhn’s plea was unrelated to obscenity. Guhn’s plea deal contains no admission of guilt to transporting or producing obscene content.
Additionally, Mooney believes that the charges unique to this case, namely drugs, racketeering and prostitution, are what set this case apart from “traditional” obscenity prosecutions.
“You have to remember, this wasn’t just an obscenity case,” Mooney said. “There were racketeering and money laundering charges, as well. And the allegations weren’t just based on obscenity; they were based on prostitution and drugs. So the case could be lost in any one of those areas. And if we lost on any one of those, Mr. McCowen would have been required to serve at least 12 and a half years.”
With a sentencing date of Aug. 11, Mooney is hopeful his client would receive no more than the required minimum.
“Weighing the evidence against my client, we feel that we’re in a good position to come in on the low side of sentencing,” Mooney said. “We’ll ask for three years, the state will ask for five. We’re very positive going in. We have a good judge and I think he’ll be fair.”
Cash Titans general manager Andrew Craft, and Guhn partner Kevin Stevens, pleaded guilty to one count of racketeering and are facing two to four years in prison. Another defendant, Thomas Dwyer, pleaded guilty to wholesale promotion of obscene materials.