Inside the Five Star Video Obscenity Trial

PHOENIX – One observer described the events taking place in Courtroom 604 of the Sandra Day O'Connor Federal Courthouse yesterday as "high drama," but that term barely scratches the surface.

The day began shortly after 8:30 a.m. with reported major tactical differences between Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul Rood and U.S. Department of Justice attorney Kenneth Whitted, both of whom have been active in prosecuting the case against Five Star Video LC, Five star Video Outlet LC and its employees, Chris Ankeney and Ken Graham, and JM Productions and its principal Jeff Steward. Voices were reportedly raised, but this reporter was not in the room to observe that.

Just a few minutes later, however, the government was ready to offer a deal. Since U.S. District Court Judge Roslyn O. Silver had ruled last week that the feds could not force Steward to take the witness stand to authenticate certain business records obtained from JM under subpoena, the government had a real problem on its hands to prove that JM had indeed shipped the four DVDs in question to Five Star, which DVDs eventually wound up in the hands of FBI Special Agent Tod Price in Falls Church, Va.

Therefore, once Judge Silver had convened court for the day, Rood proposed to offer Five Star a last-minute plea deal: In return for Ankeney's and Graham's cooperation in authenticating the JM records, the government would agree to let the corporation plead guilty to counts 1-4 of the indictment, which charged interstate transportation of obscene materials; dismiss the charges against Ankeney and Graham personally; accept a $20,000 fine from the corporation and place it on five years' probation, during which time it would agree to go out of business entirely; and immunize the corporation against having to face similar obscenity charges in Virginia, where the allegedly obscene DVDs had been received.

Judge Silver, however, was obviously none too happy. Trial was supposed to start on Tuesday, a panel of potential jurors had been chosen, and here the government was attempting to circumvent that process and possibly force a delay in the proceedings.

H. Louis Sirkin, counsel for JM Productions, was none too happy about the turn of events either.

"I can't oppose their [the government's] offer," Sirkin told the court, "but to go to trial at this time would prejudice my client."

Sirkin went on to explain that his defense strategy had been based on the fact that all of the defendants would be tried together, and that none of them would suddenly be transformed into witnesses for the government, even for the limited purposes of identifying business records.

"We came this morning prepared for trial in a certain way," he said. "We've been sandbagged."

Attorney Allan Gelbard, representing Jeff Steward personally, agreed.

"We haven't had a chance to interview" Ankeney and Graham, added Jennifer Kinsley, co-counsel for JM – a process she considered to be crucial for preparing an adequate defense.

Judge Silver inquired why the government was proposing this plea arrangement so late in the game?

Rood replied that it was because of the government's continuing problem with authenticating JM's business records – a fact that would take on crucial significance later that afternoon – and that he had not received permission from his superiors until that morning to extend the offer to Five Star.

Rood also noted that neither Ankeney nor Graham had been in trouble with the law before, and he suggested that accepting a plea from Five Star would send a message to other adult video retailers and distributors in the area that they should take another look at the types of videos they were selling.

Judge Silver was not convinced.

"This is a sad state of affairs for everyone," she stated. "There will be no pleas taken at this time by this court."

However, Judge Silver did agree to take the plea offer under advisement and rule on it later ... which created yet another problem for the JM defense.

"We don't know what direction to go in," Sirkin stated, adding that the specter of a possible plea agreement hanging over the proceedings was unfair to both his and Gelbard's clients. "We need to know ... what the evidence will show" in order to prepare a proper defense, he added.

"I am not inclined to accept plea agreements whatsoever," Judge Silver said finally, and prepared to begin picking a jury.

The remainder of the morning and early afternoon were then spent culling a jury panel of 15 from the 59 potential jurors – 12 jurors who would eventually decide the case and three alternates, any of whom would serve if one or more of the panel jurors were unable to fulfill his/her duties. All, however, would hear the evidence as it was presented.

Even the jury selection was not without its surprises, though. Judge Silver asked various questions of the panel, such as whether any of them had relatives in law enforcement, or whether they personally knew any of the parties involved, or whether any of them had been involved in criminal or civil legal proceedings themselves. Several identified themselves in response to some of the queries, but in each case, when the judge asked whether their previous experiences would affect their ability to decide the case fairly, each said it would not.

However, when Judge Silver told the potentials that it would be their job to judge the facts of the case and hers to judge the law and instruct them on that law and how to apply it, one juror objected.

He was, he said, a libertarian, and it was his understanding that the jury could be the judges of both the facts and the law of the case. However, when Judge Silver asked him if he could accept her instruction only to judge the facts and not the law, he said he could.

The principle to which that potential juror was referring is known as "jury nullification," a concept that was affirmed by Chief Justice John Jay in the 1794 case of State of Georgia v. Brailsford, where the Chief Justice wrote in his opinion, "It is presumed, that juries are the best judges of facts; it is, on the other hand, presumed that courts are the best judges of law. But still both objects are within your power of decision… you [juries] have a right to take it upon yourselves to judge of both, and to determine the law as well as the fact in controversy."

The jury selection proceeded fairly uneventfully, although several observers took note of the relatively large number who had been convicted of DUI, and the number who at some time had owned trucks which had either been stolen or burglarized.

After the luncheon recess, the judge allowed Whitted and Kinsley to conduct a short voir dire (questioning) of the potential jurors for their respective sides.

Whitted asked which jurors had not lived in Arizona during 2005 and 2006, the years in which the current controversy had unfolded, and which jurors did not live within 50 miles of Phoenix. Those questions undoubtedly went to the issue of "community standards" – one of the three prongs for the Supreme Court's Miller test for obscenity – and suggested that the prosecution would maintain that anyone who had lived in Arizona during the years at issue and lived within 50 miles of Phoenix would be aware of the community values of Phoenix.

Kinsley asked whether any of the potentials had talked to a friend or family member while filling out their juror questionnaire – a series of questions which the judge had used to pre-screen potential jurors for obvious conflicts and problems – and whether any had had conversations about the subject matter of the trial? Interestingly, one of the panel admitted that she had discussed the case with a relative who worked "in a porn distribution business in Cleveland, Ohio."

Kinsley also asked whether any of the jurors would feel uncomfortable watching the DVDs at issue – Filthy Things 6, Gag Factor 15 and 18, and American Bukkake 13, which Kinsley noted would contain scenes of man/woman sex, fellatio, anal sex, multiple partners and several other sexual acts. Four jurors said they would be uncomfortable watching the material, but could do so if the judge required it, while one said she would be unable to watch the features at all.

Finally, a jury was chosen, consisting of nine women and six men, and the parties began their opening statements.

"This particular trial is about truth and standards," Witten told them. He said the "truth" would be the actions of the defendants, adding, "The evidence will show ... that the defendants distributed into your community materials that are obscene [and that] will depict sexual conduct that is ... vile, perverted and profane."

Whitted also described the process by which FBI agents surfed the Internet, found Five Star's retail site and ordered various DVDs to be sent to two "cover" names in the Falls Church, Va. area. He maintained that JM had shipped those DVDs to Five Star, and that Five Star had then sent the DVDs to Virginia – DVDs which he claimed contained depictions of "sexual conduct that we feel violate the obscenity laws of the United States."

"Five Star sold sexually explicit DVDs to a government agent; there's no question about that," announced Richard Hertzberg, attorney for Five Star Video, Five Star Video Outlet and Chris Ankeney. "The government has to prove that these movies are legally obscene – and that's where the action is in this case."

Hertzberg added that the government must prove what the community standards are in Phoenix, and that he would offer evidence of what those community standards are, including the fact, he said, that comparable features were being sold even at stores located in Phoenix's Sky Harbor International Airport.

Whitted objected to that statement, and the attorneys met at sidebar with the judge to discuss the issue, after which Hertzberg quickly completed his opening statement. Jeffrey Douglas, counsel for Ken Graham, declined to make an opening, as did Allan Gelbard for Jeff Steward. However, Sirkin made one which he said would be "short and sweet" – which it was.

"The government must prove that [JM] Productions transported obscene DVDs into the state," Sirkin stated. "The government can't prove that." He then took his seat.

At that point, the judge called a recess, and after the jurors left the room, Whitted made a surprising statement: The government was moving to dismiss all charges against JM Productions and Jeff Steward.

The issue was, once again, the authentication of JM's business records. Witten had maintained that the mere fact that the government had served a subpoena on JM, and that the company had allegedly turned over certain "business records" to the government in response to the subpoena should be sufficient for the government to claim that those records were in fact official business records of JM Productions.

Normally, in legal proceedings, any documents introduced into evidence must be authenticated by someone with personal knowledge of such documents, who can attest to their truth and accuracy; otherwise, the documents would be considered "hearsay" and be inadmissible.

One acknowledged exception to the hearsay rule is for business records, where records kept in the normal course of business can be introduced in a trial even though the person who prepared such records has not been called as a witness to say that he/she had prepared them. However, in such a case, someone must testify that the records at issue were in fact kept in the normal course of the business that's at issue in the proceedings – and the only person who could possibly do that in this case would be JM owner Jeff Steward.

However, Steward had steadfastly refused to so testify, maintaining that for him to be forced to do so would be a violation of his Fifth Amendment right not to be a witness against himself – and that's where the government's case against him and JM struck a wall. Earlier, the prosecution had tried to get around that problem by dropping the charges against Ankeney and Graham in exchange for their testimony that they had received copies of the records in question from JM, but the judge had scotched that tactic. And if Whitted and Rood couldn't prove that JM had shipped the DVDs at issue to Five Star, then the government had no case against him ... and therefore had to drop the charges.

"Un-fucking-believable!" was Steward's reaction to his new-found freedom, but neither he nor his attorneys were willing to discuss the development further at that point.

Judge Silver then brought the jury back into the room, noting that as they could see, there were fewer people at the defense table, but that they were instructed not to draw any inferences from that fact.

Rood called as his first witness FBI Supervisory Special Agent Tod Price, who described his actions in searching for sexually explicit material over the Internet, and ordering nine DVDs from Five Star's website, four of which ended up being charged in this case. He described how he had ordered them, by what means they were received – both by UPS and regular mail – and what happened to them once they were in the FBI's hands.

The remainder of the afternoon was taken up by playing for the jury the first hour of Exhibit 4A, also known as Filthy Things 6, and at roughly 4:30 p.m., the judge recessed the trial until 9 a.m. Wednesday morning.

Day Two: Five Star Video Trial Continues

Tastes differ. For some, the high point of the second day of the Five Star Video obscenity trial might have been watching Christie Lee get her mouth fucked by two faceless guys in the opening scene of Gag Factor 18, one of the allegedly obscene videos Five Star is accused of selling across state lines.

For others, however, the high point might have been when FBI Special Agent Tod Price admitted on the witness stand, under cross-examination by attorney Richard Hertzberg, that the reason he didn't buy the four charged DVDs directly from JM Productions, but rather used the company that popped up as the third result of a Google search for what Price described as "harder-core adult material," was because his superiors "didn't want to prosecute [an obscenity] case in L.A. County."

Sadly for Chris Ankeney and Ken Graham, the principals of Five Star Video, LC and Five Star Video Outlet, LC, their retail website was that third Google result – and that third result was chosen because the second result – JM itself was at the top of the list – was already under investigation by another FBI agent, so it was unavailable for the FBI sting that resulted in the four charged features being shipped to two phony names at a mail drop in the Falls Church, Va. area.

All of that information, however, came at the very end of the second day of the Five Star trial. The entire morning was spent watching the last hour of Filthy Things 6, another charged video, plus some of the "extras" included on the disk: The interviews with stars Audrey Hollander, Sierra Sinn, Cindy Crawford and Bailey.

In total, the feature and extras were playing simultaneously on 23 screens in Courtroom 604 of the Sandra Day O'Connor Federal Courthouse: One 15-inch screen to the right side of Judge Roslyn O. Silver's elevated seat, one similarly-sized screen in front of her court clerk, one in front of each team of attorneys, one in front of each of the 15 jurors who had been selected the previous day to hear the case, and one 46-inch flat-screen monitor mounted on the north wall of the courtroom for all the spectators to see.

But although the jury had already seen Audrey being fucked, slapped and anally dildoed by Otto Bauer and Rick Masters; seen Sierra Sinn later laughing about the staged "forced" sex with Otto and then screwing him herself; seen Cindy Crawford "kidnapped" by Jenner, then turn the tables and ask him to fuck her ass, laughing while he slapped and spit on her; and seen Dirty Harry doggie-fuck Bailey in the ass while looking at a porn magazine he'd laid across her back, defense attorneys Hertzberg and Jeffrey Douglas seemed unworried, because thankfully, the law requires that all allegedly obscene works must be considered as a whole ... and once the DVD extras began playing, the entire mood in the courtroom seemed to change.

Among other things, the extras showed Audrey and Otto preparing for their scene, setting up the giant plastic dildo that would be shoved up her ass, discussing how the d.p. with Rick would be choreographed, and perhaps most importantly, letting the audience know that she and Otto were married. They showed director Jim Powers relating his conception of the video as a whole, explaining how the Cindy Crawford scene might seem familiar because it was essentially a restaging of a scene from Filthy Things 1 which Powers felt hadn't come off just as he'd planned, so he wanted to try it again. They showed him discussing the impending sex with various performers, giving suggestions as to how it should be staged, and expanding the audience's point of view to show some of what goes on behind the scenes as the sex is being performed for the camera. In all, they put an artistic frame around the entire production ... and if it's art, it's not obscene.

After the final extra was shown, Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul Rood put Price back on the stand, and after a couple of questions from him, it was the defense's turn to cross-examine him.

Price had testified that he had spent six months with the Obscenity Task Force, and Hertzberg wanted to know more about that unit. Price said that it was composed of both FBI agents and postal inspectors, and although it was an FBI task force, it reported to attorneys in the U.S. Department of Justice ... and that the task force had "targets," of which JM Productions was one. Price said he had gone to JM's website and reviewed material there which he felt could be recommended for prosecution. He also testified that he could have purchased the DVDs in question from the JM site ... but when Hertzberg asked why, then, he had bought them from Five Star's site, the prosecution objected and the judge sustained the objection.

But Jeffrey Douglas, attorney for Ken Graham, was also interested in why Five Star had been targeted. Under questioning by Douglas, Price revealed that when he did his Google search, there were "many producers" who were being looked at as potential targets for prosecution because they made what Price described as "harder-core adult material," the definition of which would be the subject of later questioning by Douglas.

Price said that he had been told by one of his supervisors to search for other sites besides JM's that sold JM material, although he said that there was no internal FBI policy that dictated the number of JM retailers to be targeted. After Kenneth Whitted, co-counsel for the prosecution, objected to questions about internal FBI criteria, Douglas responded that the questions went to Price's credibility, since it appeared that he had targeted Five Star for obscenity prosecution for selling JM material without any reference to the community standards of Phoenix, and Douglas wanted to know what that connection was.

The judge agreed that she also had concerns about the community standards aspect, and noted that if the decision to prosecute Five Star had been arbitrary, then indeed it would have had no relationship to Phoenix's community standards, but that if there had been a reason that Five Star had been selected, the reasons for that selection might impact the community standards angle.

"Did it matter that Five Star was in Arizona?" Douglas asked.

"Not necessarily," was Price's cryptic reply, adding that the state didn't matter; he could have chosen any state including, Douglas then brought out, New Hampshire ... or Virginia, where the DVDs had been received.

Upon further questioning, Price admitted that he had never lived in Arizona and had taken no steps to find out the community standards of the area. Specifically, he admitted that, at the time of his investigation, he had never been to any store in the Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport, nor to the Castle Boutique, Hustler Hollywood, Smokin' Lingerie, Adult Shop or the Paradise Boutique – all retailers which sold videos which apparently were comparable to the ones on trial in this case.

Douglas then asked whether, if Price had known that every adult in Arizona had bought copies of the JM features at issue in the case, it would have impacted Price's decision to recommend prosecution of the four JM videos – a clear reference to the community standards issue – but Price never really answered the question.

Douglas questioned Price about whether he knew that, in order to do his assignment, he must familiarize himself with the elements of the crime; in this case, "obscenity." Price responded that he had gone to one seminar on obscenity, but that although the task force had been in operation for a year before he joined it, he was given no information by other members on community standards.

"Did the task force survey communities to determine what their community standards were?" Douglas asked.

"I believe they did not," was Price's eventual response.

If Price had had reliable information of Arizona's porn consumption, would it have helped him to do his job, Douglas then queried. Price responded that it wasn't up to him to acquire that data; that the information didn't exist in any case, and that it was his understanding that the jurors in a case are the triers of the facts – which presumably would have included how many Arizonans bought porn.

Douglas then returned to his earlier questions about why the videos on trial here had not been purchased directly from JM, and wanted to know if Price had chosen to go after a "third party" retailer on his own?

"No," Price answered, saying that he had heard conversations among others in the Department of Justice regarding the targeting of "third party" retailers.

Douglas then turned to Price's criteria in picking the videos he had chosen for prosecution, and there ensued a long discussion of what types of depictions would move Price to recommend that a certain video be prosecuted. Douglas established that it had to be something more than simply a video of a topless woman, and he later established that it had to be more than a man and a woman having "vanilla" sex with each other.

"Depictions of a violent nature, to me, is hardcore," Price eventually said, explaining that that was the reason he had targeted Filthy Things 6. He again stated that there were no written guidelines as to what action to target, but that his supervisor had later agreed that the JM videos which Price had recommended for prosecution were "harder-core."

Finally, Price said that his own personal guidelines for what action to target included violence; urination in combination with a sexual act; defecation on another person; bestiality and scenes involving multiple partners.

Was mutual agreement among multiple partners to have sex with each other a factor in deciding whether the scene was "violent," Douglas asked. Price said that it was not – and that he considered threeways to be a "multiple partner" scene.

It was then Rood's turn for redirect examination, and he established that it wasn't Price himself who made the final decision as to which videos would be prosecuted, and that in fact Price had submitted 14 DVDs for potential indictment, of which four became the focus of this case. And no, Price later answered, he wasn't interested in shutting down the entire adult industry; that wasn't a motivation for his targeting JM.

Finally, the judge allowed Hertzberg to ask "a few short questions," and that's when he brought out that the reason the JM videos involved in this trial had been purchased from Five Star rather than JM itself was because the government had not wanted to prosecute an obscenity case in Los Angeles County.

For the defense, at least, that admission was the high point of the day ... and the Christie Lee scene a definite anti-climax.

Day Three: 'Taken As A Whole' Controversy Erupts In Five Star Trial

Courtroom 604 of the Sandra Day O'Connor Federal Courthouse was thrown into disarray shortly before 9 a.m. on Thursday morning when Judge Roslyn O. Silver announced from the bench that she had received a note from the jury.

While the exact contents of the note were not disclosed in open court, after discussing the situation with the attorneys on both sides, the judge brought the jury of 15 into the courtroom and told them that, yes, she was requiring them to watch the entire set of DVDs that had been charged with obscenity in the pending matter.

The jury had completed viewing Filthy Things 6, including all the extra material, in mid-afternoon of the previous day, and had seen the first scene of Gag Factor 18 before Judge Silver had dismissed them for the day. Still to come was about another 100 minutes of that feature, all the extras, plus the entire feature and extras of Gag Factor 15 and American Bukkake 13.

After the judge's instruction, the jury returned to Gag Factor 18, seeing stars like Christie Lee, Tiffany Rayne and Chelsea Zinn get their faces covered with saliva and cum as a result of deep-throating their partners.

Just before the final scene, featuring Angela Stone, the judge called the luncheon recess, asking the attorneys to stay for a few moments to continue discussing the amount of time it would take to finish watching all the video material. Apparently, Ken Whitted, co-counsel with Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul Rood for the government, had previously estimated that the entire video collection could be completed in eight hours, while Jeffrey Douglas, representing defendant Five Star Video co-owner Ken Graham, had estimated 12-14 hours, which Whitted claimed was much too high an estimate. However, with each disc running nearly three hours including extras, it seemed that Douglas' estimate was closer to reality.

Now the judge was looking for an accurate estimate, but no one seemed to have one. Her concern had apparently been triggered by the jury's note, and she wondered aloud if there might be some way to shortcut the video viewing, but Douglas stated that, "We believe it is the obligation of the government to show all the materials on the DVDs." Whitted promised to use the luncheon recess to obtain a more accurate estimate of how much video was left to view.

But after lunch, the viewing time was still unclear. The judge then questioned what the differences were between Gag Factor 18 and 15? Douglas noted that at least one difference was that 15 contained a parody of the torture committed at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison, and this time it was Whitted who advised that it was the government's position that the features must be seen in full.

The controversy stemmed from the wording of the Supreme Court's Miller test for obscenity, which notes in at least two places that the work in question must be "taken as a whole," which previous courts have taken to mean that a charged movie must be shown in its entirety to the jury considering the charge.

Here, however, Judge Silver said that she was considering the differences between a feature being "viewed in its entirety" and one being "considered in its entirety," which she said could mean that the feature was sent with the jury back to the jury room for them to view there, rather than showing the feature in open court. She compared that stance to the fact that when the defense began to put on its case, the comparable videos that it would introduce to show the community standards of Phoenix would not be played in the courtroom, but would be sent back with the jury for them to look at at their convenience in the jury room.

No resolution to the problem was yet to be found, however, and the jury finished watching Gag Factor 18. At its conclusion, Whitted called FBI Special Agent James Lasut to the stand, to ask him about the search he and others had conducted of the Five Star warehouse, offices and video store, and Lasut's interview with Five Star co-owner Chris Ankeney.

On cross-examination, Dick Hertzberg, counsel for Ankeney and both Five Star defendants, got Lasut to admit that he had tricked Ankeney into coming to the Five Star offices while the search was going on, but that when he arrived and was interviewed, Ankeney had been truthful throughout his interrogation.

Rood then called FBI Special Agent James Mackie, who had been one of those in charge of the Five Star search, describing himself as the "seizing agent," and who had also reviewed all of the DVDs ordered and shipped to Special Agent Tod Price. Mackie described the layout of the Five Star offices and retail store, and took the jury through the premises using a series of photos.

On cross-examination, Mackie admitted that he had not found any of the four charged videos for sale in Five Star's retail store, and only two of them in its warehouse. He also agreed when Hertzberg suggested that Ankeney had been cooperative and polite. Mackie couldn't confirm Hertzberg's suggestion that Ankeney had had nothing to do with Five Star's website, but agreed that the search team had not found any defecation videos or child porn on Five Star's premises. He also agreed with Douglas' contention that Five Star also did not see bestiality videos, and that Five Star's owners had never tried to conceal either the business's location nor their ownership of it.

With Agent Mackie excused from the witness stand, Whitted began to play the first scene from American Bukkake 13, featuring Molly Rome getting her face and hair plastered by multiple splooges. At its conclusion, the judge dismissed the jury for the weekend – Judge Silver only holds trials on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, using Mondays and Fridays for office work – but the trial was hardly over for the day.

Judge Silver once again brought up the discussion about finding some way to avoid showing the four charged features in their entirety. However, where Whitted had intimated earlier that he might be able to find a way to avoid showing one of the videos (which could only be accomplished by the government dropping the charges against that video entirely), he now said that he and his associates had not been able to yet make a decision on the issue.

Judge Silver then suggested showing only the "Abu Gharib" scene from Gag Factor 15, asking Douglas if that idea would meet with his approval. Douglas, however, steadfastly refused to yield on the issue of showing all the videos in their entirety – "from the first second to the last," is how Judge Silver described it. Douglas said that he wanted to use the weekend to prepare formal argument on the issue, but that he felt that the entire notion of showing only part of a charged video was improper, and that to do so would require the court to make an artistic judgment which it did not have the legal power to make. He argued that if the court's proposal were proper, then in some future case, the government could charge, for instance, American Bukkake 1 through 12 as obscene, play only one volume in court and simply say that the rest of the volumes were similar and didn't need to be played. He termed the judge's suggestion as tantamount to reversible error on appeal, especially since the court had previously said that it wasn't for time constraints that the shortcut had been suggested, but rather so that the jury would not feel "punished" if required to watch all the videos in their entirety.

Judge Silver, however, was looking at Federal Rule 403, which allows the exclusion of evidence in a case if such evidence can be shown to be irrelevant, repetitive of have some other defects, and she repeated her request that Douglas explain how Gag Factor 15 differed from the already-seen Gag Factor 18, and how his client would be hurt if the jury were not required to see Gag Factor 15 in its entirety?

Douglas responded that his client had already been hurt, because before the court had broached the idea of only playing segments of Gag Factor 15, it appeared that the government might be prepared to drop all charges against that title, but with the court's suggestion, Rood and Whitted were apparently rethinking making that offer.

"There's something unholy about this," Hertzberg chimed in. "What you're doing is making it easier to convict on a count [of the indictment] that it should be."

The parties could come to no resolution on the issue, and the judge asked that both parties provide briefs on their respective positions by mid-day Monday, so that she could resolve the issue before court reconvened next Tuesday. With that, all involved left the courtroom for the day ... and knew that they would have very busy weekends.