Attorney general vows to prosecute obscenity cases

By The Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said Feb. 28 that he would move aggressively to prosecute obscenity cases.

In his first lengthy address since becoming attorney general in early February, Gonzales said people who distribute obscene materials do not enjoy constitutional guarantees of free speech.

“I am committed to prosecuting these crimes aggressively,” he said to a Washington meeting of the California-based Hoover Institution.

The Justice Department is appealing the dismissal of an obscenity case in Pittsburgh in which a federal judge said prosecutors went too far in trying to block the sale of pornographic movies over the Internet and through the mail. The case initially was prosecuted under Gonzales' predecessor, John Ashcroft.

Among other priorities Gonzales noted:

  • Renewing provisions of the USA Patriot Act that are set to expire at the end of the year, saying the law has been an important tool in preventing terror attacks in the United States.