Tuesday, January 16, 2018
News Roundup

Defense wants new judge in porn trial

TAMPA — Tensions ran high Friday in the federal obscenity trial of a pornographer, with defense attorneys accusing the judge of favoring the prosecution and asking that she recuse herself or declare a mistrial.

Defense attorneys complained that U.S. District Judge Susan C. Bucklew didn't allow them to question a juror who sent a note Thursday asking to watch less pornography in court. They wanted to know if the note represented only his views or if he had discussed the case with other jurors.

The defense also accused the judge of unfairly questioning why they insisted on playing all 8 1/2 hours of violent and graphic pornography and other DVD extras in the case against Paul F. Little of Altadena, Calif., and his company, MaxWorld Entertainment Inc. Prosecutors intended to show only a sampling.

"This is an open trial, and we felt that the court has taken that away from us," MaxWorld attorney Louis Sirkin told the judge.

Sirkin has argued all week that the law requires jurors to view the materials in their entirety to accurately and fairly judge whether the movies are obscene.

In his films, Little goes by the name Max Hardcore. He creates scenes that show him inflicting pain and humiliation on female actors. His movies include vomiting and urination among adult women made up to look like young girls.

Bucklew denied the requests.

"The fact that you may be dissatisfied with my ruling … that's not a reason to disqualify," Bucklew said. "You may not be happy in the future with some of my rulings. That is still not a reason to disqualify."

The judge denied at least three other defense motions for a mistrial later in the day.

Under cross-examination by the defense, James Komurek testified that his adult video distribution company, Jaded Video, sold the Max Hardcore films shown at trial and sent them through the U.S. mail to a Tampa post office box. Little and MaxWorld are charged with five counts of sending obscene matter through the U.S. mail.

Jurors must decide whether the films are considered obscene by local community standards. Prosecutors granted immunity to Komurek.

"So while we're sitting here and you have immunity, your company is still shipping these products to the Tampa Bay area?" asked James Benjamin, one of Little's defense attorneys.

Komurek responded: "The possibility exists."

Defense attorneys then pointed to a section on Max Hardcore's Web site that warns against viewing his material if it violates community standards.

The trial resumes on Monday.

Kevin Graham can be reached
at [email protected] or
(813) 226-3433.

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