Prosecutors agreed Monday to drop felony pandering charges against a Hermosa Beach man in exchange for his testimony against two San Fernando Valley men accused of paying people to have sex in the production of videotapes.
As part of the plea bargain, Edward Ginsberg, 28, pleaded guilty in San Fernando Municipal Court to one misdemeanor count of conspiracy to corrupt public morals. Ginsberg, who could be sentenced to up to 90 days in jail, agreed to testify against Charles Brickman, 40, of Woodland Hills and Thomas Ingalls, 22, of Van Nuys.
Brickman and Ingalls are scheduled to be arraigned Thursday on 17 counts of felony pandering. Each count represents one person hired to have sex, Deputy Dist. Atty. Kenneth A. Loveman said.
The charges stem from a June 18 raid on a rented Canyon Country home in which police confiscated videotapes showing men and women performing sex acts, Loveman said.
Although the pandering statute traditionally has been used to prosecute pimps who provide prostitutes, the Los Angeles County district attorney's office has used the law against makers of sex films.
The issue is not the nature of the videotapes but the payment to perform sex acts, Loveman said. "If these movies were made outside our jurisdiction and distributed here, they would be of no interest to us at all," he said.
In statements at the court session Monday, Loveman said Ginsberg was the production manager for videotaping from June 16 to June 18. But Ginsberg had no interest in the earnings of the productions and was the "least culpable" of the defendants, Loveman said.
Brickman and Ingalls, who allegedly were producers of the videotapes, face state prison terms of up to 11 years if convicted, he said.
Ginsberg's sentencing was scheduled for March 6. He is expected to testify at the trials of the other defendants, before that, Loveman said.