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Pornography Business Operator Makes Plea Agreement with Justice Department

November 17, 1988

WASHINGTON (AP) _ The operator of a mail-order pornography business has agreed to disband his business and pay a $600,000 fine under a plea agreement with the Justice Department’s anti-obscenity unit.

The details of the government’s plea agreement with Avram Freedberg and his company were filed in federal court today as part of a proposed settlement of Freedberg’s civil suit to stop his prosecution in more than one state.

As part of the plea agreement, Freedberg’s company, Consumer Marketing Group Ltd. of Stamford, Conn., will be disbanded and forfeit its $100,000 inventory of pictures and videotapes of sexual acts, according to the court papers.

The company agreed to enter guilty pleas to obscenity charges in federal courts in Utah, Mississippi and Delaware and pay a $600,000 fine.

In return, the government will drop 18 felony obscenity charges against Freedberg in Utah, where he was indicted earlier this year along with his company.

Remaining criminal charges pending against the company in Utah will also be dismissed in return for the firm’s guilty plea to one count of mailing or transporting obscene material, according to the indictment.

Freedberg also agreed to cooperate with the government’s continuing investigation of pornography distributors, including giving grand jury testimony.

Details of the plea agreement were filed in court as part of an out-of- court settlement of Freedberg’s lawsuit to prevent his indictment in more than one state.

On June 8, U.S. District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson issued a preliminary injunction barring the Justice Department from bringing criminal charges against Freedberg and his company in more than one federal court jurisdiction.

The department had planned to charge Freedberg in Utah, Mississippi, Delaware and Indiana.

But Jackson had ruled that the Justice Department’s decision to prosecute Freedberg in more than one jurisdiction raised constitutional questions.

Freedberg and his company had contended that the government’s strategy was ″unlawfully and unconstitutionally preventing plaintiffs from engaging in a legal occupation.″

As part of the proposed settlement, which Jackson is expected to approve, the injunction will be dissolved and Freedberg’s civil lawsuit against the Justice Department will be dismissed.

In the settlement document submitted to Jackson, the Justice Department said it ″continues to deny its multi-district prosecution policy is unconstitutional or contrary to law.″

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