An adult film star and producer from Altadena has been indicted in Florida on federal obscenity charges, the U.S. Justice Department announced Thursday.
The 10-count indictment, which was handed down two weeks ago and unsealed Thursday, accuses 50-year-old Paul F. Little of five counts each of mailing obscene material and transporting obscene material through an interactive computer system.
The indictment also alleges that Little, through his company, Max World Entertainment Inc., distributed films to Florida that met the U.S. Supreme Court's standards for obscenity.
Little, who surrendered Wednesday, is a nationally known director, producer and star of adult films that are sexually graphic and depict "severe violence" toward women, the Justice Department said in announcing the indictment.
In a statement released late Thursday, Little, who goes by the stage name of Max Hardcore, contended that the government was unfairly attempting "to take away my home, my business and my liberty for making fictional movies with consenting adults."
"This is an absurd misallocation of federal resources," said Little's attorney, Jeffrey J. Douglas. "Everyone in America understands that if you don't want to watch, you don't have to. Why can't the prosecutors understand that?"
The charges against Little come almost two years after federal agents raided Little's Altadena studios in an obscenity investigation.
A Justice Department spokesman said the prosecution was an outgrowth of a government anti-obscenity initiative started in 2001 under former U.S. Atty. Gen. John Ashcroft.
"Whenever a new administration comes in, it has to make a decision on what resources to put where," Justice Department spokesman Bryan Sierra said. "And one of the things they took a look at in 2001 was to investigate and prosecute these types of crime because of the expansion of the Internet."
The Bush administration has significantly increased the number of pornography prosecutions in recent years, according to the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, a data-gathering and research organization associated with Syracuse University.
Though the federal prosecution of white-collar crimes, gun offenses and police brutality cases is down nationwide, the number of pornography prosecutions has grown from 500 to 700 a year between 1999 and 2001, to 1,300 to 1,400 annually over the last three years, said David Burnham, co-director of the clearinghouse.
Little's arraignment is scheduled for July 12 in U.S. District Court in Tampa, Fla. Each of the 10 counts carries a potential maximum prison sentence of five years, though an actual sentence would probably involve far less time because counts often run concurrently.