WASHINGTON – A Chatsworth, California film production company and a Tempe, Arizona video distributor and retailer, along with three owners of the businesses, have been charged by a federal grand jury in Phoenix, Arizona with operating an obscenity distribution business and related offenses, Assistant Attorney General Alice S. Fisher of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Paul K. Charlton of the District of Arizona announced today.
In an indictment unsealed yesterday, Five Star Video, LLC, of Tempe, Arizona, and Phoenix residents Christopher Warren Ankeney and Kenneth James Graham were charged with four counts of using an interactive computer service to sell and distribute DVDs containing obscene matter – identified as “Gag Factor 18,” “Filthy Things 6,” “Gag Factor 15" and “American Bukkake 13" – and three counts of using an interstate common carrier to transport obscene DVDs. In addition, Five Star was charged in a separate count with using the mails to deliver a DVD containing obscene matter. Jeff Norton Productions of Chatsworth, California, also known as JM Productions, and Mike Leonard Norton, who resides in Woodland Hills, California, were charged with six counts of using an interstate common carrier to transport DVDs that are obscene. All of the defendants were also charged with three counts of engaging in the business of selling and transferring obscene matter. The government is also seeking forfeiture of certain obscene materials and profits, together with Internet domain name and website ownership rights.
According to the indictment, JM Productions and Norton distributed to Five Star via UPS various obscene films in DVD format that were in turn sold and distributed to the public by Five Star, Ankeney and Graham via UPS and the mails.
If convicted, the defendants face a maximum penalty of five years in prison on each of the obscenity counts.
An indictment is merely an accusation. All defendants are presumed innocent of the charges and it is the government’s burden to prove a defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.
The case is being prosecuted by trial attorney Sheila Phillips of the Obscenity Prosecution Task Force of the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Arizona. The Justice Department’s Obscenity Prosecution Task Force was formed recently to focus on the prosecution of adult obscenity nationwide. The Task Force is directed by Brent D. Ward.