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Jimmy Flynt: Videos 'Hard to Defend'

By Nancy Firor and Katie Taft · May 20th, 1999 · Burning Questions
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  Adult videos were removed from Hustler Books Magazines & Gifts shortly after the May 12 announcement of a plea bargain (Jimmy Flynt, wearing a tie, stands in the background).
Matt Borgerding

Adult videos were removed from Hustler Books Magazines & Gifts shortly after the May 12 announcement of a plea bargain (Jimmy Flynt, wearing a tie, stands in the background).



A complete surprise. Totally unexpected. Not in keeping with the defendant's promise to settle the score for good.

In the week that has passed since the plea bargain ended Hamilton County's case against Hustler publisher Larry Flynt and his brother, Jimmy, speculation has been the main response to the question of what made the Flynts do it.

On the third day of their trial on charges of pandering obscenity, selling adult videos to a minor, conspiracy and engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, Larry Flynt decided it just wasn't worth it -- despite his repeated promise to set the record straight in Hamilton County.

Hustler Books Magazines & Gifts pleaded guilty to two counts of pandering obscenity and agreed to never again sell sexually explicit videos in Hamilton County. The company also was fined $10,000.

Since the Flynts opened Hustler Books Magazines & Gifts on Sixth Street, Larry Flynt repeatedly has called for a rematch, which he said was needed because merchants, fearing legal reprisals, were not selling his Hustler magazine in Cincinnati.

In 1977, Cincinnati was the site of the obscenity trial that first gained the Flynts notoriety. Though it ended in conviction, it eventually was overturned.

But adult videos were the point of contention in the trial that began May 10 and ended May 12 in Hamilton County Common Pleas Court.

While Hamilton County Prosecutor Mike Allen has told reporters that the guilty pleas from the Hustler store will have a significant implact on defining obscenity in the years to come, H. Louis Sirkin, one of the Flynts' lawyers, told reporters that the plea bargain had left open many issues, which would be debated in the years to come.

"(The plea bargain) proves nothing," Sirkin told The Enquirer. "It's really a wasted effort because nothing really changes."

Then, given his repeated conviction to making such changes, why did Larry Flynt or his brother agree to plea? Was it Larry Flynt's failing health? Was it the thought of facing up to 24 years in prison? Was it the fact that this trial was not deciding the legality of selling Hustler magazine?

Sirkin deferred the question to Alan Isaacman, Flynt's lawyer in Los Angeles.

Isaacman did not return a telephone message seeking an answer to the question.

Jimmy Flynt said the thought of 24 years in jail had nothing to do with it.

"We looked at the length (of the trial) and my brother's physical condition," he said.

The fact that the case was not about Hustler magazine but, instead, videos not owned by the company also was part of the incentive for a plea, he said.

"They weren't our videos, and we determined they would be hard to defend," he said. "But we got what we wanted because we're still here."

 
 
 
 

 

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