PITTSBURGH—A “Mailing Obscene Matters” case that stretches back to 2007 was settled Thursday with a plea deal. Right Ascension Inc., operating as AdultDVDEmpire.com, agreed to the terms in federal court, and was sentenced to a two-year probation term and fined $75,000 after pleading guilty to Count One of the charges.
The charge of mailing four obscene DVDs from its Warrendale warehouse to undercover FBI agents in Erie was a mistake, said AdultDVDEmpire’s attorney, Gary Zimmerman, who told the court his client has strict procedures in place to prevent just such an occurrence.
“This isn't a company that's in the business of trying to push the envelope of the First Amendment. The films distributed in this case slipped through those guidelines,” Zimmerman said. “These films negligently went out.”
He added that the company had cooperated with investigators from the beginning of the case and has since removed the sadomasochism category that the charged films were apparently listed under.
“The way they're running the business, this should never happen again,” Zimmerman said.
The federal prosecutor in the case, Pamela Satterfield—fresh off the government’s stinging loss in the Evil Angel/John Stagliano obscenity case—countered that the videos were not your everyday “run-of-the-mill porn.”
The company faced fines of more than $500,000, but the government accepted the much lesser fine of $75,000 because of the fact that the company had made less than $500 from the sale of the DVDs.
According to court documents, Right Ascension owner John M. D'Arcangelo appeared in court yesterday morning for the hour-and-a-half hearing, to hear the terms of the sentence and agree to them.