Colorado's King of Porn

March 2005

Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez two weeks ago said that obscenity would be his highest priority. He's wasting no time. According to the Denver Post, Edward Wedelstedt is a "Denver-based pornographer " and a "porn mogul" who distributed pornography in 18 states from his headquarters in Colorado and failed to pay sales tax.

Edward Wedelstedt, 62, who heads Goalie Entertainment, a porn empire run out of a nondescript brick building near Interstate 70, faces racketeering, obscenity and tax evasion charges outlined in a 54- page indictment issued Friday
....Prosecutors are attempting to seize at least $48 million in proceeds acquired over the last dozen years and all shares of stock owned by Wedelstedt and his companies. They also are seeking the Learjet and property in Denver, Iowa, Texas and South Dakota.

Wedelstedt's friends point out that he is a major philanthropist.

Wedelstedt's nonprofit foundation, called Eddie's Kids, has given thousands of tickets for Denver Nuggets and Colorado Avalanche games to poor children, Lirot said. During conventions for porn executives, Wedelstedt would pressure his peers to donate to his foundation, said [adult entertainment lawyer Luke ] Lirot, based in Tampa, Fla. Indeed, Wedelstedt's name appears in society columns over the years as attending and holding fundraisers.

Mr. Wedestedt's attorney, Hank Asbill of Washington, D.C., a friend of mine and a pit bull of a lawyer in the courtroom, had this to say:

Wedelstedt's attorney, Henry Asbill, scoffed at the indictment, saying it was an attempt by a new regime at the U.S. Justice Department to take a swipe at his client after the federal government's tax investigation of Wedelstedt went nowhere. "He distributes adult movies to consenting adults in adult-only stores," said Asbill, based in Washington. "It's legal." Asbill said the evidence will show that Wedelstedt's companies actually paid more than their fair share in taxes.

The Justice Department will have to convince a jury that the material distributed by Wedelstedt was "obscene" by common standards in the community. Instead of charging Mr. Wedelstedt in Colorado, where he lives and where his business is headquartered, it filed the case in the Northern District of Texas. Why? Most likely because the Justice Department perceives that the community standards in Denver are more liberal than those in Texas. Isn't this what they call "forum shopping?" It may be legal, but as Lirot says, "It doesn't pass the smell test."