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L.A. fetish film producer convicted of federal obscenity charges

This news story was published on April 28, 2012.
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By Victoria Kim, Los Angeles Times –

LOS ANGELES — Five years after he was first indicted and after two prosecutions ended in mistrials, a Los Angeles-based maker and distributor of niche fetish films was convicted Friday of federal obscenity charges.

Ira Isaacs, who produced, sold and sometimes acted in films involving scatology and bestiality, was convicted on all five counts of selling and distributing obscene material surrounding four films he sold through a website he advertised as “the Web’s largest fetish VHS, DVD superstore.”

The seven-woman, five-man panel deliberated for less than two hours Friday after a weeklong trial, the bulk of which was made up of the screening of the four films. Two were Isaacs’ creations, and two were films he imported from Japan and distributed.

Isaacs’ first trial in 2008 was halted after the judge recused himself, following a Los Angeles Times report that the judge’s personal website contained some sexually explicit material. Isaacs’ second trial earlier this year ended in a mistrial after jurors deadlocked 10 to 2 in favor of guilt.

Isaacs took the stand in his own defense this week, as he did at his March trial, saying his intent was to create “shock art” inspired by authors and artists including Franz Kafka and Marcel Duchamp.

“I’m an artist, and my stuff is art because I say it is,” he said. “Art is what artists do.”

Department of Justice prosecutors contended however that his claim to artistic motivations was “obviously simply a desperate attempt by the defendant to avoid being held accountable under the law.”

Noting that his website contains no mention of “art” or “artistic,” prosecutor Damon King said Isaacs was simply after the profits he could make by selling fetish films pushing the limits of the law.

Under the legal definition of obscenity, the material in question must have no serious artistic, scientific, literary or political value, in addition to appealing to prurient interests and being offensive by community standards.

Isaacs’ attorney, Roger Diamond, told jurors Friday that the crux of the case was about freedom of speech.

“This transcends the movies that you saw. This case is about the Constitution of the United States,” he said. “The question here is whether or not the First Amendment means anything.”

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3 Responses to L.A. fetish film producer convicted of federal obscenity charges

  1. Zoo Reply Report comment

    April 28, 2012 at 12:24 pm

    In a way I’m glad he was charged, commercially made bestiality videos being produced by skuzballs like him are nothing short of animal abuse for profit where they get hold of animals, force them into various situations and then discard them.
    Wouldn’t bother me one bit if all of those bestiality videos were burned tomorrow.
    Skuzballs like him give REAL zoophilies nad zoophilia a bad name by association.

    • Carnivore Reply Report comment

      April 28, 2012 at 7:36 pm

      For once, Zoo, I have to say “well said”. I agree 100%.

      • Zoo Reply Report comment

        May 19, 2012 at 11:09 am

        Well I am glad we agree there Carnivore, though if you remember from previous comments on the bestiality case I stated I am totally against the activity of producing and marketing any form of bestiality porn and I explained why, how these slimy producers abuse the animals involved and discard them once the filming is over.
        While I am aware there are many persons calling themselves “zoos” who consume and even produce such porn, I don’t personally recognize them as being real, or ethical zoos- their practices prove they are not zoos but are in fact bestialists.