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July 16, 2010 A win for the First Amendment
Judge Richard Leon of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia dismissed the charges against adult film producer John Stagliano, in the closely watched First Amendment case. Stagliano was indicted in a seven-count indictment for producing two movies and a trailer that federal prosecutors said were criminally obscene. This is the first obscenity case the Federal government has filed in over twenty years.
Named in the indictment was Stagliano and two of his companies including Evil Angel Productions Inc. It was reported that Prosecutors planned to bring the case in Alabama. There is no indication why the venue was switched to Washington.
Leon today ruled that the federal prosecutors Pamela Satterfield and Bonnie Hannan, failed to present enough evidence to jurors to prove that Stagliano or his companies violated the law. Stagliano was facing up to 32 years in federal prison.
Allan Gelbard, the attorney for the defense stated “It’s a great day for the First Amendment. It’s a great day for an independent judiciary. It’s an amazing day for John, who looked the government in the eye and said that he wasn’t going to take it.”