Porn producers sentenced in federal court

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The owners of the now-defunct California graphic pornography company, Extreme Associates, were both sentenced to one year and one day in prison this morning in federal court.

The sentence will allow both Rob Zicari and his wife, Janet Romano, to qualify for good time as they serve their punishment for conspiring to distribute obscene materials.

Though the case began with much fanfare -- seen as a test of First Amendment and obscenity law when it was originally charged six years ago -- it ended with barely a whimper, when the couple decided to plead guilty in March before U.S. District Judge Gary L. Lancaster.

In addition to the prison time, the couple must serve an additional two years of supervised release.

U.S. Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan prosecuted the case here after undercover postal inspectors ordered videos from Extreme Associates and had them mailed to Pittsburgh. She was in court today for the sentencing.

Mr. Zicari and Ms. Romano were indicted in August 2003 for selling videos and clips online and through the mail. The videos feature graphic scenes of simulated rape, torture, defecation and murder.

Former Attorney General John Ashcroft had made prosecution of obscenity one of his top priorities.

The case was initially dismissed by Judge Lancaster in January 2005, but the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated it 12 months later.


Paula Reed Ward can be reached at pward@post-gazette.com or 412-263-2620.


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