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Husband-and-wife porn producers sentenced to prison

A federal judge today showed leniency to a husband-and-wife team who produced obscene hardcore pornography.

U.S. District Judge Gary L. Lancaster sentenced Rob Zicari and Janet Romano, formerly of Northridge, Calif., to a year and a day in prison each. Their defunct North Hollywood company, Extreme Associates, received no sentence.

All three pleaded guilty in April to conspiring to distribute obscene material through the mail. Nine other obscenity counts against each defendant were dropped.

Lancaster noted that the widespread news coverage the case received in the six years since it was brought did not make it any more serious. He said there were no victims and that the pornographic movies were available through a members-only Web site and not in storefront windows "as was done in Downtown Pittsburgh for years."

Zicari did not speak during his hearing.

Romano sobbed.

"I didn't know making a horror-porn was going to destroy my life," she said.

Zicari and Romano made films that depicted kidnappings, rapes and murder as well as other violence and degradation toward women.

"This material is the most violent and disgusting portrayal of women that has been produced," said U.S. Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan. "That is what they wanted to do."

A grand jury indicted the couple and their company in August 2003 after federal agents in Western Pennsylvania ordered three films through the mail and downloaded six video clips through the company's Web site.

Lancaster initially dismissed the case, but the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed his decision.

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