Isaacs Obscenity Trial Begins Next Week

Rhett Pardon

LOS ANGELES — Potential jurors will be required to answer 39 questions posed to them as Ira Isaacs' obscenity trial gets underway next week at the federal courthouse in downtown Los Angeles.

Isaacs, the fetish filmmaker and distributor, faces five counts stemming from a federal obscenity indictment, where the government asserts four movies are obscene.

The Justice Department contends that Isaacs from at least May 2004 and continuing to at least April 14, 2011, operated "a business engaging in the production, distribution, transportation and sale of obscene videos and movies."

The government in the case is targeting the movies "Mako’s First Time Scat," "Hollywood Scat Amateurs #7," "Hollywood Scat Amateurs #1" and "Japanese Doggie 3 Way."

Isaacs is charged with one count of engaging in the business of producing with intent to sell and distribute obscene matter; one count of knowingly using interstate commerce for the purpose of selling and distributing obscene matter, one count of knowingly using a common carrier to deliver obscene matter in interstate commerce and two counts of knowingly causing obscene matter to be delivered by mail.

The proposed jury questionnaire was crafted at a pretrial conference last week and has gone unopposed by both parties. Also crafted was the Statement of the Case, which will be incorporated into the court's voir dire of the jury.

In the two-page Statement of the Case, the four movies are described in explicit details, and jurors will be forced to answer questions based on the movies' described content, which ranges from the smearing of scat between sex acts to sex with "two full-sized dogs."

Five of the 39 questions that require written answers from potential jurors discuss sexually explicit activities, as well as the ability to verbalize them with other jurors.

One question asks whether the potential juror can stand to watch the movies, which would last more than one hour. (At an earlier pretrial conference, U.S. District Judge George King ruled that federal prosecutors must play movies charged in the indictment "as a whole.")

"During the course of this trial, if you are selected to serve as a juror, you will be shown videos which depict sexually explicit activities, as previously summarized for you, so that you may determine if they meet the definition of obscenity," Question No. 35 says. "Several of the videos are at least one hour in length. Would you be able to look at these depictions as part of your service as a juror?

Isaacs, who operates Stolen Car Films and LA Media, has pleaded not guilty to the obscenity counts for videos allegedly distributed in 2007 and 2011.

The long-running case was put on hold in 2010 after federal appellate Judge Alex Kozinski, a visiting judge at the district court, recused himself after it was revealed that he used a website to distribute sexually explicit photos and videos.

Later, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decided that Kozinski exercised “sound discretion” in declaring a mistrial in the Isaacs case because of “extraordinary circumstances.”

But federal prosecutors continued on with the case against Isaacs and last year made a superseding indictment to add five more counts to the original five from 2007.

Jury selection begins next Tuesday at the downtown federal courthouse.

Isaacs told XBIZ earlier this month that he expects the case to move along in five days.

"By the following Monday, the jurors should have the case," he said.