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General News    H2'ed 4/22/10

Could Siegelman Prosecution Wind Up Helping the Porn Industry?

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Message Roger Shuler
Cross Posted at Legal Schnauzer
The prosecution of former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman is best known as Exhibit A for corruption in the George W. Bush Justice Department. But could the political prosecution wind up boosting, of all things, the pornography industry?

According to a report from Josh Gerstein at, the answer appears to be yes.

How could that be? It starts with the government's plans to prosecute John Stagliano, one of the top directors and producers in the porn industry, on obscenity charges. Stagliano is based in Malibu, California, but apparently because of porn's widespread distribution, federal prosecutors can more or less venue shop for an area that is likely to produce a conviction. That often leads them, in obscenity cases, to conservative jurisdictions such as Alabama.

But our fine state presents problems for the feds this time. And that might be because of controversy generated by the Siegelman case.

It looks like the Stagliano case will wind up being tried this summer in Washington, D.C., normally one of the last places the feds want to prosecute an obscenity case. Writes Gerstein:

The move could have been made to save the government money, since the Adult Obscenity Task Force prosecutors who were planning the case generally live in the D.C. area. However, some observers have also noted that the perceived unwillingness of some U.S. Attorneys to bring obscenity cases played a role in some of the controversial dismissals by the Bush administration in 2006. This might have made filing such a case in Birmingham, Alabama politically problematic, since the office there was already embroiled in controversy over the prosecution of former Gov. Don Siegelman (D-Ala.)

Gerstein tried to get insight from Alice Martin, U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Alabama during the Bush era, and wound up getting stonewalled. That's a big surprise.

The U.S. Attorney in Birmingham in 2007, Alice Martin, told POLITICO she could not recall any decisions about the Stagliano case, including why it was redirected to D.C.

"I cannot recall"? Isn't that the phrase Alice Martin repeatedly offered up when questioned about possible perjury she committed in connection to an employment-related matter? And Martin used similar phrases when questioned by Raw Story's Lindsay Beyerstein about my unlawful termination at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). Actually, Martin did not allow Beyerstein to question her; she issued a written statement--the classic tactic of the stonewaller.

Nice to see our gal Alice has still got it.

According to Politico, Democratic administrations have tended to focus on child-pornography cases, not on adult pornography. Because of that, some experts thought the Stagliano prosecution would be abandoned when Barack Obama took office. But looks like it's going to move forward--another example of Obama apparently sticking to George W. Bush policies.

The prosecution, however, is not likely to take place in Alabama. And that should greatly enhance John Stagliano's chances of an acquittal.

We wonder if Stagliano has any idea how much he owes to Don Siegelman.

For the curious, you can check out some of Stagliano's handiwork at his official Web site, (definitely NSFW). Yes, our guy caters to folks with ass fetishes--hence his nickname in the porn industry, "Buttman." Also, Stagliano is known for his commitment to "gonzo porn," a growing genre in the adult field.

Let's see if we have this straight: The Bush DOJ's corrupt machinations in Alabama could wind up helping the pornography industry? It actually could bring joy to people with butt fetishes everywhere? It could promote gonzo porn?

Got to love those GOP family values.
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I live in Birmingham, Alabama, and work in higher education. I became interested in justice-related issues after experiencing gross judicial corruption in Alabama state courts. This corruption has a strong political component. The corrupt judges are (more...)
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