Criminal Justice

Extreme Associates Obscenity Case Ends in Guilty Pleas

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Last week, after fighting federal obscenity charges for more than six years, Extreme Associates impresarios Robert and Janet Zicari, a.k.a. Rob Black and Lizzy Borden, each pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute obscene materials. Sentencing is scheduled for July 1, and they could face up to five years in prison for selling dirty movies, a considerable improvement on the 50 years they could have gotten on the original charges.

Greg Beato chronicled the Extreme Associates case in a 2004 Reason article. I mentioned it in my 2008 story about drug paraphernalia prosecutions, an area where the Zicaris' adversary, U.S. Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan, also has been active. Buchanan, who seems to be a sincere moral crusader and therefore a public menace, is one of several U.S. attorneys hoping to keep their jobs in the Obama administration.

In 2007 Radley Balko questioned Buchanan's priorities. In November I considered Attorney General Eric Holder's record on obscenity prosecutions, and last month I noted the reassuring "porn ties" of David Ogden, who was confirmed last week as deputy attorney general.

[Thanks to Charlie Deitch for the tip.]