LOS ANGELES—After deliberating for less than two hours, a Los Angeles jury has just found Ira Isaacs guilty on all five counts in his obscenity trial that has been going on since Monday of this week.
"I'm very disappointed with this outcome," Isaacs stated shortly after the verdicts were read, but he didn't find them surprising. In fact, earlier in the week, he had confided that he felt he had "long overstayed my 15 minutes of fame," and just wanted the trial to be over—an understandable reaction since this was his third time before a court and jury on these same issues.
The jury began deliberating the charges of producing, selling and shipping the four charged movies—Mako's First Time Scat, Hollywood Scat Amateurs 7 and 10, and Japanese Doggie 3 Way—at approximately 11:15 a.m., and at 1:05 p.m., let the court clerk know that they had reached a verdict.
The quick verdict was a slight surprise, because after deliberating for about 45 minutes the jury foreman sent two notes out to the judge, the first asking for a definition of the term "morbid," which had been used in the court's definition of "prurient interest," which had been defined for the jury as a "morbid, degrading and unhealthful interest in sex or excretion"; the second note asked whether the charged material had to fit all three descriptive terms in that definition.
The judge had called the parties back into the courtroom shortly after noon to discuss what his responses would be to the notes, and Isaacs' attorney Roger Jon Diamond had objected to the words Judge George H. King said he would use in answer to the first question, which were "shameful or unwholesome," both of which terms had been used to define the term in other Ninth Circuit cases. Diamond also objected to the judge's stated intent to tell the jurors that they could consider the terms in the prurient interest definition individually, since they themselves were the words used to define the term, and that the jury need not find that the material fit all three terms together.
However, just as the judge was about to call the jury back into the courtroom to deliver his answers, the clerk informed him that there was apparently a third question being prepared, so the judge held off answering the first two questions until the third question had been received.
After the parties had waited for about 20 minutes, however, the judge announced that in fact there was no third note, but that the jury had reached its verdicts without receiving answers to its previous notes.
Isaacs looked pensive as the jury filed into the courtroom shortly after 1 p.m., and was visibly shaken as the jury foreman read the "guilty" verdicts on the five counts, each of which could net him five years in (likely) a minimum security federal prison.
After the jury was polled and then dismissed with the court's thanks for having done a "very difficult job," Judge King tentatively set Isaacs' sentencing date for August 6, 2012 at 11 a.m., and the U.S. Justice Department prosecutor Damon King announced the government's intention to seize both Isaacs' master DVDs and the video equipment which he'd used to duplicate his movies for sale.
Diamond told AVN that he felt his client had several grounds for appeal, but a final decision as to whether Isaacs will appeal the verdicts has not yet been reached.
Photo: Ira Isaacs