Isaacs Could Become Expert Witness for His Own Defense

LOS ANGELES — Prosecutors are objecting to two proposed expert witnesses for the defense in Ira Isaacs' federal obscenity case, which could begin as early as May.

But what makes their objection so unusual is the identity of one of the expert witnesses — defendant Isaacs, who was charged with federal obscenity violations over the mail distribution of “Gang Bang Horse — ‘Pony Sex Game,’” “Mako’s First Time Scat” and “Hollywood Scat Amateurs No. 7.”

Federal prosecutors allege that the films are obscene and have no artistic merit. But Isaacs, who owns Stolen Cars Films and LA Media, claims the films have both artistic and political value.

In a status report obtained by XBIZ today, federal prosecutors say they object to Isaacs' proposed testimony in its entirety.

"First, the government objects to the defendant’s qualifications as an artist who can opine on whether or not the charged works have serious artistic value," prosecutors say. "The government objects generally to any testimony regarding 'what is art' as not a reliable or helpful guide to the jury."

But using Isaacs as an expert witness to his own defense, according to Isaacs attorney Roger Jon Diamond, "gives him insight into the three charged films’ artistic value, due to his over 10 years experience as a filmmaker in the Postmodernism 'Shock Art' style. Moreover, as creator and director of one of the charged films, this gives him a special insight as well."

With 60 films under his belt, Diamond said, Isaacs tries to explore the cutting edge of art by challenging taboos, cultural mores and tractional artistic views.

"Isaacs’ testimony will show that scatological and bestiality narratives are legitimate and consistent ideas within the postmodern art movement," Diamond said in the status report.

"Isaacs will give a brief history and description of postmodernism from Marcel Duchamp — circa 1917 — and the Dada movement to present day work. He will discuss Postmodernism (use of disturbing imagery) versus Modernism (aesthetically pleasing images) and the value of both and how the three charged films are serious works of postmodern art.

"Isaacs believes that to understand the serious artistic value of the three charged films one must understand the postmodern art period as a whole."

Diamond also points to Isaacs proposed gallery installation, which would feature audience reaction to one of the charged films, “Hollywood Scat Amateurs No. 7.”

"In a closed room in the gallery, the audience watches the film, a camera records their reaction to the film in real time. The real time reaction video is projected on to a screen outside the viewing room for gallery patrons to see," Diamond said. "This may be the first time an exhibit captures two perspectives of the same artistic event."

Federal prosecutors say they also object to the proposed defense testimony of Dr. Mohan Nair, a psychiatrist who would give his opinion that porn is commonly used as a sexual aid and widely used in a therapeutic environment. Nair has worked as a psychiatrist for 35 years.

"Specifically, the government objects to any testimony that the charged works have serious scientific value on the grounds that the defendant has failed to meet his burden of demonstrating that the methodology underlying the opinion is reliable and would assist a jury in evaluating the serious scientific value of the charged works," prosecutors said.

The government also objects to Nair’s qualifications to testify as an expert on the scientific value of hardcore pornography, because they say he has never been qualified as an expert to do so before.

On the flipside, Isaacs counsel Diamond said that he's opposed to the government's expert witness, Dr. Mary Ann Layden, who would testify over sexual trauma and sexual psychopathology as that field relates to porn.

At a stalemate over the use of witnesses, both sides agree on one thing — "If the government stipulates to the defendant’s expert witnesses, the defendant will stipulate to the government’s witness," the status report said.