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FSC Seeks Halt to All 2257 InspectionsBy: Steve Javors (Courtesy of XBIZ.com)
Los Angeles — Free Speech Coalition Chairman Jeffrey Douglas told XBIZ he believes that the FBI has violated a court-ordered injunction designed to protect FSC members who are defined as secondary producers.
The alleged violations occurred when FBI agents inspected the records of secondary producers Robert Hill Releasing, Legend and Pure Play Media.
While the FSC has publicly remained silent about what it believes to be violations of the injunction, Douglas assured XBIZ that the FSC legal team is working behind the scenes.
“Free Speech Coalition is taking a two-pronged approach to these violations,” Douglas said. “We are currently engaged in communications with the Justice Department to see if they will agree to temporarily stop the inspections, and hopefully we can reach an agreement. If these good-faith talks do not progress, we will ask the judge to enforce his order.”
Prior to the Legend inspection, the FSC informed the lead FBI agent in charge of 2257 inspections that the inspection of Robert Hill Releasing was in violation of the injunction, according to Douglas. FSC sent a letter to Justice after the Legend inspection, which was the second company with to be inspected with secondary producer status, which would have allegedly violated the injunction. Since Legend, the FSC has been involved in negotiations with the FBI to halt inspections until these issues are resolved.
Legend had a letter that was presented to the FBI before it began inspections explaining its secondary producer status.
Douglas further cautioned members of the adult industry to not resist what the FBI demands at any point during an inspection under any circumstances.
“The FBI orders in the nicest possible way,” Douglas said. “It would be a grave problem for someone to refuse what the FBI demands even if what he or she asks for is illegal. The courts will decide that. It’s in no one’s advantage to refuse access. If you think the FBI is conducting an illegal records inspection, the best approach is to document it. Immediately have your lawyer notify the FBI while the agents are there. All companies should have a letter to present to the FBI explaining that its secondary producer records are exempt citing the injunction, but that you will still supply the agents with whatever records they need to complete the inspection.”
Douglas refused to issue a timetable for resolution, but he said the FSC understands the gravity of this issue, which must be resolved quickly because other secondary producers could be inspected in the meantime. While he stopped short of employing scare tactics, Douglas sounded slightly unnerved that the FBI and Justice have treated the letter of the law in such cavalier fashion.
“We want this to be resolved in the short-term future,” Douglas said. “The FSC is making a good faith effort to resolve what we feel are violations by agents of the federal government. No one should feel safe because the FBI and Justice are not following the law.”
Douglas also believes that the FBI has created a large legal quandary for itself by violating the injunction because “if we are to assume that a judge agrees that these inspections violate the injunction, I think it’s unlikely that Justice will succeed in any prosecution based on these inspections.”
After mid-term elections saw many socially conservative Republicans voted out of office, Douglas recognized an immediate benefit to the landscape of politicians that stand opposed to the adult industry.
“If the best short-term benefit to the mid-term elections is that the primary force behind aggressive enforcement of 2257 came from a small cadre of ideological Republicans in the Senate and House,” Douglas said. “Without those individuals in power to threaten, hold hearings and generally humiliate, and with the Democrats in power, this means that the primary impetus to enforcing a law that is pointless, unconstitutional and utterly stupid, dissipates.
However, Douglas cautions that if the Democrats can’t hold onto both houses in two years, it will be a very short-lived victory.