AVN Legalese Column: Trump Cabinet Looks to Embrace Porn Opponents

(Editor’s Note: Once in a while I come across an article that needs to be shared.  I originally read this in the AVN magazine I received during the 2017 AVN Expo week in Las Vegas.  The article had the options to be shared on various social media platforms, but I thought doing a copy & paste it here would have a better chance of being seen for a longer period of time thereby continuing to get the message out to an additional audience.)


Legalese Column: Trump Cabinet Looks to Embrace Porn Opponents


by Clyde DeWitt



This article originally ran in the January 2017 issue of AVN magazine. Click here to see the digital edition.

Last month’s column, which was put to bed—literally—the day after the election results were in, was written in the aftershock of the Democrats failing to win the White House or the Senate, which most pundits thought they would accomplish. As this deadline approaches we have a better picture of where the Trump administration is headed.

Trump’s designation of Mike Pence as the running mate could be explained as a ploy to garner the evangelical vote; Pence has always been a hero of that element. However, now that he has been elected, we could only hope that Trump’s pitch of being outside the Beltway would come to fruition. Now we know: Not so!

With Republican control of the Senate, along with the rule that there will be no filibusters on nominees other than for the Supreme Court, Trump’s cabinet nominees should speed through the Senate like a hot knife through butter. The Democrats’ move of eliminating filibusters for cabinet nominees will now come to bite them in the seat of the pants. What happened was that, in 2013, the Democratic-controlled Senate, tired of the Republicans calling a filibuster for almost every Obama nominee, changed the rules to prevent filibusters other than for Supreme Court nominees. Now, the inability of Democrats to filibuster will allow Trump’s nominees to go without anything other than some Democratic fussing.

So, who has Trump selected? After running on the platform of being a Washington outsider, Trump’s cabinet and advisory nominees materially all come from either the Republican establishment or the Wall Street establishment. America has been had!

Of most significance to readers of this column is the appointment of Jeff Sessions as attorney general to run the Department of Justice. The Department of Justice is responsible for enforcing 2257. Moreover, in the last five Republication administrations (Reagan, terms I and II, Bush 41 and Bush 43 terms I and II), the attorney general has launched federal obscenity prosecutions. So, circle the wagons and batten down the hatches!

As to 2257 enforcement and inspections, the decision of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit has put 2257 on hold. But with Congress and the White House under Republican control, look for a legislative fix to address the Third Circuit decision from Congress, regulatory changes from the attorney general’s Department of Justice, and inspections after that.

So, in charge of all of this presumably will be now-Senator Jefferson “Jeff” Beauregard Sessions III. What’s he all about? For starters, he’s from Alabama, a state that some contend is still fighting the Civil War. In 1986, he was bounced by the Senate from a federal judgeship nomination, evidently because of a series of allegedly racist remarks.

The worst indication for this industry is Sessions’ position on social issues. He has been publicly in the same pill box as the evangelicals on every single social issue on which he has spoken: abortion, LGBT rights and so on. Figure he will be right there on sex as well.

You can count on the fact that Morality in Media (which changed its name to the National Center on Sexual Exploitation because “sexual exploitation” is less controversial than “morality”) and other pro-censorship groups will be in Sessions’ office the day after he takes office. And Sessions will give them a figurative hug.

There are no longer very many readers of this column who were in the business during the 1986-1992 era. For those who were there, you need no warning.

For those who weren’t there, know this about those days: After the 1986 Meese Commission report, the Department of Justice created what might be called an obscenity strike-force unit. The Unit went through some issues and some renaming, but the Unit was a juggernaut. There weren’t so many adult production companies back then, most being concentrated in the Chatsworth area of Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley. Those companies materially all were subject to searches and seizures for obscenity investigations, followed by grand jury subpoenas of employees and then indictments. And, of course, the arrest warrants arising from the indictments mostly were executed on Friday afternoons, the better to prevent the victims from posting bail to get them out before the weekend. Employees were afraid to go to work. A frightening number of industry leaders went to prison.

Understand that Trump’s 2020 reelection campaign started the day after the votes were counted. He must have learned by now how Ronald Reagan won reelection with overwhelming support from evangelicals.

Mitt Romney, during the race for the Republican nomination, labeled Trump as a “fraud.” Mitt was right, but maybe not for the reason he assigned. Trump’s claim of being a Washington outsider has proven to be just that: a fraud. So far, his proposed appointments have materially all been Washington insiders, Wall Street insiders or clear sympathizers with one or the other.

An aside: Last month’s issue focused on the emerging legal marijuana industry. Watch out! Marijuana remains classified as a narcotic under federal law. The Obama administration has looked the other way to allow states to legalize and regulate marijuana. However, Sessions is a very committed opponent to legal marijuana. If you are in that business, check the sentencing guidelines. You could be facing a 20-year minimum!

The election could be a dramatic change in this industry. Keep your powder dry.

Clyde DeWitt is a Las Vegas and Los Angeles attorney, whose practice has been focused on adult entertainment since 1980. He can be reached at clydedewitt@earthlink.net. More information can be found at ClydeDeWitt.com. This column is not a substitute for personal legal advice. Rather, it is to alert readers to legal issues warranting advice from your personal attorney.