Investigation of Traci Lords Pornography Case Expanded

Times Staff Writer

Federal authorities are expanding the case of X-rated film star Traci Lords, who made about 75 movies and videos before she turned 18, to determine whether three other popular actresses were underage when they starred in sexually explicit movies, it was reported Friday.

Attorney Mike Mayock, who represents VCA, a distributing company, said Friday that federal subpoenas were issued Tuesday to five distributors seeking records relating to Lords and actresses Ali Moore, Nikki Charm and Kristara Barrington.

He identified the companies as VCA, CBI, Caballero, Western Visuals and Paradise.

Chief Assistant U.S. Atty. Richard E. Drooyan confirmed that the the U.S. attorney's office in Los Angeles is investigating the Traci Lords case, which Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Ira Reiner turned over to the federal government in August.

But Drooyan said he could not confirm or deny whether the government's investigation has been expanded to other actresses.

Adult movie stores, video shops and theaters throughout the nation pulled films featuring Lords off their shelves in mid-July when police said that she had made scores of movies and videos before she turned 18. Her entire catalogue, including such titles as "New Wave Hookers" and "Lust in the Fast Lane," is now illegal.

According to Mayock, he had advised his client, VCA, to recall any early Kristara Barrington films, not because of knowledge that Barrington is underage but as a precaution. She has starred in such films as "Double Trouble" and "Kiss of the Married Woman."

Mayock expressed confidence that when an investigation is completed, the government will find that Moore, Charm and Barrington were not minors when they made X-rated films. He said he had been shown an Illinois driver's license indicating that Barrington will be 23 on Nov. 22.

Attorney John Weston, representing the Adult Film Assn., told the Associated Press: "It is interesting that the government is not claiming that anyone knew these actresses were underage. I think the government is being very responsible, maintaining grand jury secrecy and not making a circus of this."

Strict Liability Statute

Weston said he thinks that U.S. authorities are investigating because the federal government has a strict liability statute regarding minors, whereas California law regarding exploitation of minors has a reasonable belief clause.

Under the state regulation, according to Weston, defendants can say they were fooled by false identification and appearances. Also, he said, California permits people under 18 to legally assume the rights and responsibility of an adult.

Both state laws might be excluded as a defense in a federal prosecution, he said.

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