TAMPA — In a surprise development, James F. Komurek, president and owner of JKG, Inc. and Jaded Video, testified this afternoon that it was his company, Jaded Video, that had sent the five allegedly obscene DVDs which Max Hardcore has been charged with mailing to Tampa.
Komurek, who had been given immunity by Andrew Oosterbaan, chief of the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section of the U.S. Department of Justice, for any testimony he might give in the Max Hardcore trial, as long as he told the truth from the witness stand, admitted under cross-examination by Max World Entertainment attorney Dan Aaronson that Max Hardcore had no ownership or control over JKG or Jaded; that when Jaded placed an order for videos, including the so-called "Euro Versions," from Max World, Max Hardcore had no further control over the discs, and that Jaded could then ship those disks anywhere it pleased by any shipping method it pleased.
That testimony completely gutted the government's case regarding the five charged DVDs — Max Extreme 20, Golden Guzzlers 7, Planet Max 16, Fists of Fury 4 and Pure Max 19 — that had been ordered through links from maxhardcore.com, catalinaxxx.com and pissedonpornstars.com but all processed by Jaded Video's website jadedvideo.com and paid for by postal money orders received and cashed by JKG, Inc. In other words, aside from producing the features themselves, Hardcore and Max World had nothing else to do with those titles eventually being received by postal inspector Linda Walker in Tampa. It is therefore likely that Judge Susan C. Bucklew will have no choice but to grant a "Rule 20 motion" — that is, a motion to dismiss the interstate transportation charges — when the prosecution ends its case, which it is expected to do sometime on Monday. As things stand, all that is left of the prosecution's case is to complete the cross-examination of Walker, which is scheduled to include showing to the jury the portions of Fists of Fury 4 and Pure Max 19 which the prosecution had elected not to show during its direct examination. That presentation is predicted to take approximately four hours.
The day started out contentiously as well, with the defense team — Jeffrey Douglas and Jamie Benjamin representing Max Hardcore personally, and H. Louis Sirkin, Jennifer Kinsley and Dan Aaronson representing Max World Entertainment — having filed the previous evening a "Joint Motion for Mistrial and/or Recusal of Judge," based on the events of the previous day. Specifically, the defense pointed to the facts that Judge Bucklew had questioned the value of playing the remainder of the charged videos, and had refused to question a juror, who had written a note asking that only excerpts of the movies be played, as to whether he or she had disobeyed the judge's instructions and formed an opinion as to the guilt or innocence of the defendants, and whether he or she had discussed the case with other jurors — also a big no-no.
The judge denied the defense motion, and the remainder of Golden Guzzlers 7 was played. However, the judge had indicated that the showing of the rest of the unplayed videos might be interspersed with testimony from records custodians, a course that drew objections from the defendants. Aaronson argued that playing the movies in the sequence in which they were originally presented was important for their artistic value, and that breaking up the showings was prejudicial, in that it implied that the videos themselves were of lesser importance than the records evidence. Judge Bucklew denied the motion to play the videos as a bloc.
In any case, the judge's schedule did bring James Komurek to the stand that much more quickly, and his testimony appeared to completely exonerate Hardcore from all charges connected with the five DVDs. Interestingly, under questioning from Aaronson, Komurek admitted that his company still sells the charged DVDs and, incredibly, would still sell them to a customer in Tampa if they were ordered today — at least until the current trial established whether the DVDs did or did not offend the community standards of the Middle District of Florida, where the trial was taking place. Komurek said he might do so even over the objection of Hardcore and Max World!
Following the cross-examination by Aaronson and Benjamin, prosecutor Edward McAndrew attempted to "rehabilitate" the witness by referring to the 2257 notice and the copyright notice displayed on Hardcore's website, but the defense attorneys objected that such testimony was irrelevant. Judge Bucklew allowed the testimony, and denied Benjamin's motion for a mistrial on that basis, but it hardly refuted Komurek's earlier admissions.
At the end of the day, the judge reiterated a position she had earlier taken and backed away from several times — that she would consider preventing the defense from playing the remainder of the unplayed DVD footage — and questioned both sides as to how long they predicted the remainder of testimony would last. It was at this point that the defense said it intended to call an internet expert to do a live Google search to determine how much sexually explicit material of the type charged in this case was potentially available in the Tampa area, and Judge Bucklew seemed intrigued by the concept ... but said she would rule on its admissibility when the trial resumed on Monday.