In his defense of nudist client Brian Martens, attorney James Eisenberg brought something unusual to a federal courtroom: a framed copy of a photographic artwork featuring a series of naked and clothed adults.
The prop was intended to bolster a motion he brought in defense of Martens, 53, a Palm Beach County nudist who was arrested on Oct. 29, 2013 after an investigation by Homeland Security Investigations.
Judge Daniel T. K. Hurley took a brief look at the artwork but didn't entirely see eye to eye with Eisenberg's argument during Thursday's pre-trial motion hearing.
Martens, accused of helping to take pornographic pictures of his three young daughters and sharing them with other men, pleaded not guilty Thursday to charges of production of child pornography, receipt of child pornography and possession of child pornography.
Eisenberg had asked for a computer graphics expert to be allowed to superimpose digital images of clothing on the girls in the photographs, then have those images shown to a potential jury.
His argument was that the girls were not being depicted in a lascivious manner, but instead were photographed doing normal, non-sexual activities while living with Martens in the Sunsport Gardens Family Naturist Resort, a Loxahatchee Groves nudist colony, Eisenberg said. Had they been wearing clothing, Eisenberg contends, the pictures wouldn't be considered indecent.
As for the artwork, Eisenberg said, he hoped it would show that people striking the same non-sexual poses are construed totally differently when one image features clothing and the other does not.
Hurley, who described the argument as "inventive," denied the digital-clothing request, saying it doesn't constitute legitimate evidence.
Federal prosecutor Robert Waters Jr. told the court the "pictures are what they are" and that a jury's decision of guilt or innocence should be based on the actual evidence.
Hurley did allow Eisenberg to proceed with speaking to a nudist expert, although the judge said he was "skeptical" about whether or not such an expert's opinions would be admissible.
A trial date had not yet been set, the court heard.
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