PHILADELPHIA—The judge overseeing the trial of former Philadelphia Traffic Court judges accused of taking bribes in exchange for fixing tickets has ruled in the matter of the porn videos allegedly given one of the judges. According to U.S. District Judge Robert Kelly, there will be no mention in front of the jury of the fact that it was porn on the tapes. It wouldn't be fair, he said. The trial is scheduled to start May 19.
It's not the porn tapes are a secret. Philly.com is obviously writing about them, and the fact of their existence was mentioned in a motion filed earlier this month by attorneys for one of the defendants, Henry "Eddie" Alfano, a South Philadelphia businessman who reportedly owns a number of businesses, including an auto repair shop and an adult video store named Venus Video, and is accused by prosecutors of giving one of the judges porn tapes "in exchange for fixing traffic tickets." In the motion, Alfano's lawyers said the release of the videos "would be 'extremely inflammatory' and could prejudice a jury."
According to Philly.com's latest article, at yesterday's pretrial motions hearing, one of Alfano's lawyers, Jeffrey M. Miller, even told the judge that "Alfano was willing to agree that he gave [Judge] Perri videotapes, but did not want the type of tapes mentioned before a jury."
The reason, added Miller, was tactical. He accused the feds of wanting to reveal the pornographic nature of the tapes because, "Nothing could probably inflame the passions of the jury more."
Arguing for their mention in court was Assistant U.S. Attorney Denise Wolf, who told the judge, "There will be evidence there were 20 or 30 videos given over a couple of years. Judge Perri enjoyed them for whatever reason.
"These are not Disney movies," added Wolf. "These were adult pornographic movies that he [Perri] could not get in any other way... It shows the quid pro quo and the conspiracy between them."
But the judge didn't buy her arguments, and instead "ruled that telling the jury 'the nature of these videos' would be 'unfair,' and ordered that the government not mention that the videos were pornographic," according to Philly.com.
It's unclear why precisely he came to that conclusion, but the article suggests it may have been because Perri has already pleaded guilty to his role in the ticket-fixing scandal, meaning any mention of the porn tapes in court would only serve to potentially embarrass him. Or perhaps the judge realized the absurdity of the government's claim that the porn movies were ones the judge "could not get in any other way," which would only be true in this day and age if they were so controversial (i.e. illegal) that no video store or website in the country would dare carry them. If that were the case, however, Judge Kelly would have some real explaining to do.