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Scat-Porn Trial Bombshell

As the federal scat-porn trial against Ira Isaacs broke for lunch today, Judge Alex Kozinski told jurors not to think about or discuss the case during the recess, nor pay attention to media coverage of it. Kozinski had more reason than most other jurists for giving this standard reminder: This morning the L.A. Times reported that Kozinski’s personal Web site, which he believed to be password-protected and not publicly accessible, was in fact as wide open as the judge’s well-known libertarian beliefs. More embarrassing, the site is filled with sexually explicit images and “included a photo of naked women on all fours painted to look like cows and a video of a half-dressed man cavorting with a sexually aroused farm animal” and masturbation.

When asked by Times reporter Scott Glover during an interview yesterday whether Kozinski should recuse himself from the Isaacs trial, the judge offered no comment.

The Reagan-appointed, 57-year-old Kozinski has always been known for his erudite yet folksy contrarianism, and his defense of individual liberties. A native of Romania who came to America as a child, he once made a splash on a long-ago TV episode of The Dating Game.

Kozinski’s participation in the Isaacs trial raised eyebrows from the start. Exercising his authority as the chief judge of the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Kozinski took the case away from fellow justice George King in March. At the time, court watchers said that Kozinski, like other appellate justices, needed to personally try a case just to keep in touch with the court system. This afternoon the Isaacs trial will resume in Pasadena, where three films depicting bestiality and defecation are to be shown jurors. Even more eyebrows are expected to be raised, now that news of the judge's Web site has spread.

While Kozinski was instructing the jurors against reading media reports about the trial, Bush administration porn-pointman Brent Ward was spotted sitting on a back bench in the courtroom. The dour Ward was deeply implicated in the Prosecutorgate scandal that sent Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez to the showers amid evidence that federal prosecutors were sacked for not jumping high or quick enough to the administration’s partisan political beat. When Kozinski’s courtroom emptied out, Ward made a beeline for the bench.