After Wrangling With Judge, Stagliano Case Prosecutors Rest

WASHINGTON, D.C.—During a contentious morning hearing that nearly brought prosecutor Bonnie Hannan to tears—and clearly stoked the ire of Judge Richard J. Leon—the prosecution, after more than two hours of argument and consultation, finally submitted to the court an affidavit admitting that Judge Leon had not ordered prosecutor Pamela Satterfield to direct FBI Special Agent Daniel Bradley to do anything with respect to the evidence in the John Stagliano obscenity case.

The prosecution had originally insisted that it could not make that simple statement because it was not the “complete truth.” However, Judge Leon told Satterfield that she had just two choices: either submit the affidavit as he had outlined, or recuse herself from the case and take the witness stand to testify to the same circumstances.

The matter came up in yesterday's proceedings, when Bradley was asked by John Stagliano Inc. counsel H. Louis Sirkin when he last viewed the movies charged as obscene in the case. Bradley stated that he had seen them just last Wednesday in preparation for trial, and that he had done so at the behest of Satterfield, who had allegedly told him that the viewing had been suggested by Judge Leon. But in a sidebar hearing, Judge Leon said he had never given Satterfield such an order. Later that day, Sirkin sought to put Satterfield on the stand to confirm or deny that she had received such an order from Judge Leon. The judge said that he would take the matter under consideration and issue a ruling the following day.

After taking much of this morning to consider her options, Satterfiled eventually executed the affidavit. At that point the prosecution rested, and arguments began to dismiss the charges against all of the defendants.

Allan Gelbard, attorney for Evil Angel Productions Inc., argued first, maintaining that the government had presented no evidence that his client had had any involvement at all with the DVDs at issue, and that, in fact, his client had been suspended from doing business in California since 2005. The prosecution alleged repeatedly that all mentions in the evidence of “Evil Angel Productions” were actually references to “Evil Angel Productions Inc.,” while Gelbard had argued that Evil Angel Productions was simply the business name of John Stagliano Inc.

Argument is scheduled to continue this afternoon, and it is questionable whether the jury will get to hear any further evidence today.