Jurors may have to see some stuff they might never be able to unsee if a defendant who's acting as his own attorney gets his way.
The South Florida man wants to introduce sex tapes and intimate photographs of himself and his wife as evidence in his criminal trial to try to prove that his marriage was real and not just undertaken for immigration purposes.
The trial of Rogerio Scotton — which starts Thursday in federal court in Fort Lauderdale — has nothing to do with sex.
The Brazilian-born former professional racecar driver, who lived in Boca Raton and Margate before his arrest in March 2012, is charged with 27 counts of mail fraud and two counts of lying to immigration authorities.
The 43-year-old businessman is accused of operating a multimillion dollar mail fraud involving shipping companies FedEx, UPS and DHL. Prosecutors say he stole millions of dollars from the shippers by creating phony accounts that fraudulently billed major companies like Target, WalMart and Apple between 2007 and 2012.
To top it off, Scotton is pro-se. Judge Rosenbaum is presiding. She is such a good egg that she didn't just continue this until she was confirmed so some other judge would have to deal. And she is trying so hard to give this guy a fair trial:
He wants U.S. District Judge Robin Rosenbaum to let him show what she called videos and photographs of "you and your wife engaged, I guess, in some very intimate acts" to the jurors who will decide his innocence or guilt.
Scotton hopes to undermine the prosecution's allegation that he lied about details of his marriage to a Cuban woman to get permanent resident status here. The 25-year U.S. resident said he has visible proof that the couple had a genuine marriage.
Scotton's desire to show jurors visual depictions of the more intimate side of the couple's relationship caused the judge to schedule a court hearing Wednesday to view the footage and photos and decide if it would be legally appropriate.
The judge told Scotton she wasn't going to just "play that stuff in front of the jury and see what's on there" without vetting it.
"I don't think that it would be fair to your wife," Rosenbaum told Scotton, explaining she needs to ensure that he gets a fair trial without unnecessarily violating his wife's privacy or introducing irrelevant matters.
"Why is the privacy of my wife important at this point?" Scotton asked the judge. "I'm facing jail time."
"[Let's] see if we can figure out a less intrusive way to prove the same thing," Rosenbaum told him.