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Worst Jury Experience of All Time
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Ira Isaacs, a creator, producer and seller of fetish movies has been convicted by a jury on obscenity charges. The jury, consisting of an architect, mental health therapist, teacher, truck driver and others ranging between the ages of 27 to 64, decided on conviction after a weeklong trial. Isaacs, who created and sold fetish films on his “Web’s largest fetish VHS, DVD superstore” maintained that his films on scatology and bestiality were pure expressions of art. He claimed that his creations should be held as art and “Art is what artists do.” Isaacs maintained, “I’m an artist and my stuff is art because I say it is.” However, he failed to answer the prosecution’s questions as to why there were no mentions of the words “art” or “artistic” on the website through which he sold his obscene films.

Isaacs vehemently denied of ever having told a former employee, “There are a lot of sick people out there … it’s all about making money from sick people.”

  
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The prosecution maintained that Isaac’s artistic claims were simply “a desperate attempt by the defendant to avoid being held accountable under the law.”

Isaac’s attorney told the jury that at its crux, the case was about freedom of speech: “This transcends the movies that you saw, this case is about the Constitution of the United States … The question here is whether or not the 1st Amendment means anything.”

Isaacs was stopped by the bench from forwarding his claims of creating art: outside the hearing of the jury, U.S. District Judge George H. King said, “We can save a lot of time if we’re not taking art lesson 101 from Professor Isaacs.” The judge admonished Isaacs to not start a lecture on the history and definition of art and refused to allow the bestiality filmmaker from testifying as an expert on art.

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Isaac’s attorney Roger Diamond said, “We’re dealing in this case with a kind of culture war.”

Isaacs, 60, held that he created “shock art” inspired by artists including Kafka and Duchamp. He used to create artwork for coupon mailers, but later turned to fetish films because he wanted some subject to differentiate him from others.



Twice before, his trials had been botched. Once, in 2008, a judge had to recuse himself after sexually explicit material was found on the judge’s personal website. Next, earlier this year, a jury deadlocked at 10 to 2 in favor of conviction.

He was convicted on five counts of distributing and selling obscene material under federal obscenity laws.



 

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