Rob Black and his wife Lizzy Borden, partners at Extreme Associates were each sentenced to a year and one day in prison after pleading guilty to obscenity charges.
Black (born Robert Zicari) and Borden (born Janet Romano), also received two years of supervised release when they were sentenced earlier today.
Both pleaded guilty last March to conspiracy to distribute DVDs purchased by an undercover U.S. postal inspector in Pittsburgh, PA.
Defense attorney, Jennifer M. Kinsley contested the government’s claim that the material is “sadistic or masochistic” for sentencing purposes but that argument was denied.
Kinsley submitted a brief to the court earlier this week that asked the court to should sentence them “to probation or, at most, a short period of house arrest.”
Kinsley, in her brief, said that the pair had already paid a steep price with the indictment and six years worth of legal anxiety.
“What was once a thriving film production company grossing over $1 million in annual sales is now defunct and deeply in debt. [Black], a former award-winning director and president of his own company, is similarly bankrupt and unemployed. [Borden] earns meager booking fees for dance performances and other entertainment.
“They are both reliant on the financial assistance of [Black]’s family to subsist. As a result of the deep decline in customer base and industry support this case spawned, [Black] and [Borden] have lost their house to foreclosure and have seen their livelihoods and careers slip away.
“When Extreme Associates, [Black], and [Borden] became the first mainstream adult producers to face federal obscenity prosecution in decades, their once-adoring fans were afraid to purchase the films and wholesalers and distributors were scared to do business with them, lest they too be charged with a crime.”
The case has been waged for much of the decade and began when an undercover U.S. Postal Service inspector bought porn videos through Extreme Associates’ membership site, ExtremeAssociates.com, in 2002.
A federal grand jury indicted the couple in August 2003 on 10 counts of conspiracy to defraud the U.S., mailing obscene or crime-inducing matters and transporting obscene matter for sale.
A federal judge dismissed the case in January 2005, ruling that the anti-obscenity statutes were unconstitutional when applied to Extreme Associates because they violated an individual’s right to privacy. But the Justice Department appealed that ruling before the 3rd Circuit, which overruled the judge.
The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear Extreme’s appeal from the 3rd Circuit, sending the case back for trial. Upon learning of the Supreme Court’s refusal to hear the case, Zicari said it was “a big fuck you.”