Jimmy Flynt Sr. earlier this month refused to answer questions relevant to the use of the “Flynt” name on Flynt Media Corp. products at deposition.
Larry Flynt and LFP Inc. are suing Jimmy II and Dustin over the use of Flynt Media Corp. name, claiming the name is too similar to their own. LFP already has won a preliminary injunction against Flynt Media Corp., and the case goes to trial next month.
Jimmy Flynt Sr., who was expected to discuss the formation of Flynt Media Corp. and the use of the Flynt name and mark, asserted his 5th Amendment privilege and refused to answer questions at a deposition in Cincinnati, which was attended by attorneys from both sides and LFP executive Theresa Flynt.
According to a motion seeking a contempt sanction, Jimmy Flynt Sr. was expected to have knowledge on various topics that were relevant to the issues in the trademark case. “Further, it is expected that Jimmy Flynt Sr. may have had communications with his sons that concern both the formation of the defendants’ company and the use of the Flynt name and mark,” the motion said.
At the deposition, LFP attorneys asked questions concerning Jimmy Flynt Sr.’s employment history, possible ownership of Flynt Media Corp. and general questions relative to the formation of that company.
But Jimmy Flynt Sr. refused to answer relevant questions at the deposition, based on advice from his attorney, Lou Sirkin, who said he was concerned over the testimony possibly being used by federal prosecutors.
“I don’t know of any investigation that’s going on against Hustler … but there have been some federal indictments, and I’m aware of a couple that I cannot disclose because we may be involved in them,” Sirkin said in testimony at the deposition. “But I can tell you there’s one case that is currently pending in the District of Columbia, it’s against Evil Angel and John Stagliano, and we believe that a lot of information that the government has in that case, because we have been supplied copies of the depositions, that Mr. Stagliano had given and responded to in his piracy case out in California.”
Sirkin, who did not respond to XBIZ questions relative to the contempt motion, later wrote in a motion that prosecutorial fears were genuine.
“Given the recent history of federal prosecutions of these types of businesses, and the high profile of plaintiff’s business in the industry, Jimmy Flynt Sr.’s apprehension and fear of incrimination was neither remote nor speculative,” Sirkin wrote. “As such, his invocation of the 5th Amendment was proper and valid since the assertion was grounded on a reasonable fear of danger of prosecution.”
Sirkin also said in the contempt motion’s response that “Jimmy Flynt had reason to believe that certain communications, which he had received from others and relayed to his sons, could be considered as evidence of a criminal conspiracy involving extortion or other unlawful acts.”
“Of course, Jimmy Flynt cannot fully explain here the specific reasons for not answering all questions or it would defeat the purpose of the 5th Amendment in that he would be giving up his right to remain silent in order to justify his silence,” said Sirkin, who noted that plaintiffs could have brought the matter of nonresponses to a magistrate judge at the time it arose.
A federal judge is expected to decide on the possible sanction within days.