U.S. District Judge Richard Leon, ruling that the government didn't meet the burden of proof on evidence with any of the eight charges, admonished prosecutors over their efforts.
“I trust that the government will learn a lesson when going forward,” Leon said in his ruling. “The myriad of novel legal issues that have bubbled up in this case will continue to pop up around the country.”
Leon found that the government had not shown any evidence that either of the two corporate entities effectively had any direct ties to the charges, or that the defendant himself had any direct links to the videos he was charged with.
While there was circumstantial evidence, Leon ruled that it was insufficient for a jury to find guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
The courtroom erupted into applause after the judge read his ruling and dismissed the jury.
Outside the courtroom Stagliano, perhaps joking, said he was “disappointed. [The government] didn’t put up much of a fight.”
“They were sloppy and not passionate and doing the prosecution for the wrong reasons,” Stagliano told XBIZ.
“And karma,” he added, “is important.”
All the attorneys in the defense team were quick to praise each other for a team effort in the successful defense.
Stagliano attorney Paul Cambria told XBIZ the Evil Angel founder was “one of the nicest guys I’ve ever met, in or out of the business.”
Like his other clients whom he’s worked with — Larry Flynt and Reuben Sturman — Cambria said Stagliano, like them, is a “true devotee of the 1st Amendment."
"They don’t hide behind it, they stand in front of it," he said.
Another Stagliano attorney, Louis Sirkin, told XBIZ that it proves “if you’ve got the guts to fight, wonderful things can happen.” He compared Stagliano to Lenny Bruce and others who protect the 1st Amendment.
Another Stagliano attorney, Allan Gelbard, said he thought the government “thought they could just show the jurors the movie and they couldn’t lose."
"Well, they learned today that is not right," he said.