Ira Isaacs' 3rd Obscenity Trial Begins Monday

LOS ANGELES — Ira Isaacs says there will be more twists and turns in his third federal obscenity trial, which begins Monday at federal court in downtown Los Angeles.

"It should be more interesting that the last one," Isaacs, the fetish filmmaker, told XBIZ. "The government really wants to win its case, and so do I."

In March, jurors were declared deadlocked 10 to 2 in favor of convicting Isaacs over charges he produced, sold and transported obscene material, including the movies "Mako’s First Time Scat," "Hollywood Scat Amateurs #7," "Hollywood Scat Amateurs #1" and "Japanese Doggie 3 Way."

The government has decided to retry the case a third time after two mistrials.

Isaacs, who operates Stolen Car Films, LA Media and a number of websites, says he couldn't disclose much of his strategy in the case to XBIZ because prosecutors are closely reading what is written about the case.

"But there will be new testimony," said Isaacs, who now calls himself an "expert defendant" after surviving a pair of earlier obscenity prosecutions. "And there will be new strategies based on earlier moves [by the prosecution]."

Isaacs met yesterday with his lawyer, Roger Jon Diamond, and federal prosecutors Michael Grant and Damon King during a pre-trial hearing before U.S. District Judge George King.

At the hearing, Isaacs withdrew designation of any expert witnesses for his defense and each party was given a copy of proposed jury questionnaires.

Isaacs hinted to XBIZ that he would take the stand in his own defense, saying he may "give the jury a lesson in art" and telegraph to them that "if the artist says it's art, it's art."

The fetish filmmaker all along has contended that the works he has been charged with have artistic value and can't be deemed obscene.

The two jurors who voted against conviction in his second trial in March were women, including a 75-year-old who wore a Christmas-themed sweater with snowmen through the trial and later told Isaacs that her late husband was a maker of horror films, and that she found artistic value in the movies.

Isaacs first trial 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. Prosecutors later narrowed the charges down to five.

When trial begins on Monday, a pool of 130 potential jurors will be given questionnaires in the case. From that pool, 16 jurors will be chosen, including four alternates.

"It will be an exciting trial with twists and turns," Isaacs said. "Come on down and see the action."  

The case, U.S. vs. Isaacs, begins Monday at 8:30 a.m. at U.S. District Court 312 N. Spring St., Los Angeles. An XBIZ TV interview conducted with Isaacs in March after his second trial can be viewed here.