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Ruling on obscenity case delayed

Attorneys for the University of South Florida argued Friday for the dismissal of a First Amendment lawsuit filed by a student whose video on sexual themes was deemed obscene.

But Chief U.S. District Judge Elizabeth Kovachevich delayed ruling, after hearing the student's attorney attack the university's decisions and its formation of a "secret committee" to review the student's case.

Amy Andre, a senior at USF's New College in Sarasota, projected the video Annie Sprinkle's Sluts and Goddesses Video Workshop on an outside dormitory wall last October, prompting campus police to seize it. Campus officials later said they were worried about high-school age children seeing it.

Andre's attorney George Rahdert, who also represents the St. Petersburg Times on First Amendment issues, criticized university officials for a warrantless seizure and for not returning the tape. In an interview, Rahdert also criticized the finding of a "secret committee" of university officials who have recommended Andre be disciplined by student government.

Noting that Andre is scheduled to graduate on May 23, the judge urged attorneys to talk soon and try to work out an agreement if at all possible. The judge set an early April deadline for the filing of all motions in anticipation of trial.

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