December 09, 1999 05:52pm
Bob Guccione Praises Jury's Acquittal of Clerk Charged with Obscenity for Selling Penthouse Magazine
Source: ENTERTAINMENT WIRE
by: Company Press Release
(TULSA, OK) --Penthouse publisher Bob Guccione praised an Oklahoma jury of five women and seven men for finding a Tulsa newsstand clerk innocent of obscenity charges for selling a copy of the men's magazine.
Mr. Guccione, also thanked clerk Darrell Louis Penn, 33, who faced up to ten years in prison, for his bravery in fighting the charge of selling and delivering obscene material. "Mr. Penn could have pleaded to a misdemeanor, but he insisted he had done nothing wrong in selling our magazine and demanded his day in court," Mr. Guccione said.
Penn was arrested a year ago at the Whittier News Stand in Tulsa, where he works, by undercover police officers after they purchased a copy of the November 1998 magazine. During the three-day trial, each jury member carried a copy of the magazine in question into the jury room, where they deliberated for three hours before acquitting Penn on Wednesday.
"I think the jury's quick decision will raise a red flag in front of publicity hungry district attorneys and others who want to impose their own interpretation of what people should or should not be reading," Mr. Guccione said. "The jury left no doubt that Americans won't stand for anyone trying to impose censorship and interfere with their right to read what they want, free from government intrusion or intimidation."
Penthouse paid for Mr. Penn's defense, which was handled by attorney John Coyle III of Oklahoma City, first amendment specialist John Weston of Los Angeles and Scott Troy of Tulsa. "Although Penthouse was technically not on trial, we felt an obligation both to Mr. Penn and to every newsstand employee in the country to help stand up for the right to sell constitutionally protected material.," Mr. Guccione said.
"This case should never have been brought in the first place and I hope the district attorney in Tulsa will make the sensible choice and drop a second case that is still pending," Mr. Guccione said. "If he decides to continue the prosecution, we are confident the result will be the same."
Celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, Penthouse magazine and Bob Guccione have led the fight against encroachment on First Amendment rights in numerous court cases over the years. Penthouse is published in over 17 foreign editions from England to Hong Kong. Its ongoing series of video productions are top draws on pay-per-view programs and are regularly on Billboard's list of video best sellers. At the beginning of its fourth decade Penthouse is the clear leader in adult entertainment.