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U.S. Dismisses All Obscenity Charges Against JM Productions

Prosecutor dropped charges due to a lack of evidence that JM sold the videos to Five Star Video; charges remain pending against Five Star.
U.S. Dismisses All Obscenity Charges Against JM Productions
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XBIZ 360 - Jan. 13-16, Los Angeles
Oct 16, 2007 5:00 PM PST    Text size: 
PHOENIX — XBIZ has confirmed that all obscenity charges against JM Productions and owner Jeff Steward were dropped in federal court today.

“The only official statement that we made was that charges were dropped,” JM Publicist Tony Malice told XBIZ. “I don't have much detail; that's basically all we know or can talk about.”

Malice did say that the charges were dropped by the government because of lack of evidence and that officials didn't feel there was enough of a case to pursue.

Ohio-based Louis H. Sirkin, attorney for JM, confirmed that the charges had been dropped, and quipped that the government had “recognized the superiority of counsel, and that they could not beat the firm of Sirkin, Pinales and Schwartz.”

“The government has dropped the charges against JM and Jeff Steward, acknowledging that they had insufficient evidence to show that our client had sold the videos [to Five Star],” Sirkin said.

Sirkin said that Kenneth Witten, the Justice Department prosecutor handling the case, moved to drop the charges after jury selection was completed. Asked if the move came as a surprise, Sirkin said that “it was our anticipation that the government would have trouble providing sufficient evidence against our client.”

”We did what we were supposed to do as lawyers,” Sirkin said. “We knew more about the law than the government did.”

Al Gelbard, attorney for Steward, told XBIZ he was “very pleased that the government couldn't make a case.”

“To their credit once the jury was in panel they realized that and they dismissed against us,” Gelbard said.

Charges are still pending against Five Star Video, Sirkin said, adding, “they are in good hands with Jeffrey Douglas” and the rest of their defense team.

Five Star faces obscenity charges connected with the distribution of the titles “Filthy Things 6,” “Gag Factor 15,” “Gag Factor 18” and “American Bukkake 13.”

As reported previously, the government has overseen the sale of the same videos in administering the business of Castle Megastores following that company’s declaration of bankruptcy.

Speaking at the XBIZ Summer Forum in July , Douglas called the government’s sale of the indicted videos “the kind of thing that defense attorneys dream about happening to them.”

Gelbard told XBIZ that Douglas and the rest of the Five Star defense team also can count on continuing assistance from the attorneys for JM.

“The sad fact is that they're continuing on against Five Star,” Gelbard said. “I think they've got a very good chance of being acquitted and we're going to do everything we can to help them.”

Douglas was unavailable for comment at press time.

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