Feds hand eight-count obscenity charge to porn producer

Or as Wired's Threat Level put it, porntrepreneur John "Buttman" Stagliano was busted for "selling adult content to adults." If convicted, he faces a possible prison sentence and up to $7 million in fines.

The eight count obscenity indictment was issued this week, and the Department of Justice released details in a press release before handing down charges to the defendants.

Three pornographic films are mentioned in the DoJ papers:

* Milk Nymphos

* Storm Squirters 2

* and Fetish Fanatic 5, which features the porn performer Belladonna.

So, women squirting dairy products out their butts, and Belladonna hosting some sort of enema party? Oh, BFD, DoJ, as a nation do we not have more noble battles to wage?

BB pal Reverse Cowgirl wondered aloud over email,

I just wonder about the meetings, at the DoJ, OPTF, and AOS. Was it like, say, a Tuesday, and one agent's like, we need to go… FOR THE SQUIRTERS. And then, was one other guy like, YEAH, AND MILK.

Also worth noting, the Belladonna movie box cover displays this sage advice:

"If nothing else, you ALWAYS do your enemas before going out to party!"

Adult news site XBIZ had this quote from Stagliano's attorney, Al Gelbard:

"The charges are what they are; I disagree with them politically and morally," Gelbard said. "It's a waste of the government's resources. We're very confident that we'll prevail at trial." …

And Richard Abowitz at the LA Times managed to pry a comment from Stagliano himself, against his attorney's advice:

The charges are real and something bad could happen. But I look at the world with wonder and amusement, especially when it comes to the government. I am hoping this will result in a bump in sales for the films. It is all films I distribute and not a single one I directed. I wish my 'Fashionistas' had been chosen. The films are hard, but I have real artistic ambition. I wonder how closely they watched? I am surprised the government, with the war and the economy, has time for this.

Over at AVN, Mark Kernes posted a piece titled "Stagliano Indictment Raises Unique Questions Regarding Minors' Internet Access," in which one attorney argued that the case is "a set-up for a titanic battle over two major constitutional issues" — and old laws involving "indecent telephone messages."

One charge, however, that hasn't been seen before in a case involving adult material accessible from a Website is under Chapter 47 of the United States Code, Sec. 223(d), "sending or displaying offensive material to persons under 18."

That section reads, in pertinent part, "Whoever, in interstate or foreign communications, knowingly … uses any interactive computer service to display in a manner available to a person under 18 years of age, any comment, request, suggestion, proposal, image, or other communication that is obscene or child pornography, regardless of whether the user of such service placed the call or initiated the communication; or knowingly permits any telecommunications facility under such person's control to be used for an activity prohibited by paragraph (1) with the intent that it be used for such activity, shall be fined under title 18 or imprisoned not more than two years, or both."

Fleshbot has a related post (NSFW), with links to the DVDs in question — which adult stores are said to be yanking off the shelves as I type.

(thanks, Reverse Cowgirl! Image: Luke Ford, via Wikipedia.)