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Charge Against 'Deep Throat' Limits Freedom, Reems Says

By Donald Berk

Harry Reems, actor in three well-known pornographic films, said last night he was prosecuted and convicted for his participation in the film "Deep Throat" under a conspiracy charge that could have dire, widespread implications for civil liberty rights in this country.

Speaking before about 250 people at the Law School Forum, Reems, whose real name is Herbert Striker, said "no artist is going to experiment with sexuality for fear of prosecution. It will stagnate sexuality as a form of expression."

Alan M. Dershowitz, professor of Law audience saw "Deep Throat," and of those said that under the conspiracy law any person who acts to further a conspiracy can cause any other conspirator to be held responsible for that act.

Reems asked how many people in the audience saw "Deep Throat," and of those, how many told others to go see it. He told those people who replied affirmatively to both questions that they were co-conspirators because "you have furthered a conspiracy."

The charge of conspiracy to transport and distribute obscene material across state lines masks the real issue of whether the movie offends the "average" American, Reems said.

The prosecution attempted to show in the trial, which was held in Memphis, Tenn, last spring, that "sex was only proper within matrimony and only in the missionary position, or you were legally perverse," the actor said.

"Any criminals in the audience?" Reems asked.

"What goes on behind closed doors, I think is defended under rights of privacy," Dreshowitz said, "as long as it is not thrust upon unwilling viewers."

"I don't want to see Republicans sending me junk in the mail to vote for them," Reems said, asking where the legal limits are in situations like his own case.

The conviction will be appealed before the sixth U.S. District Court in a few months.

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