The Sexist

Porn Star Lorelei Lee to Testify in Buttman Trial

The stage name of the porn performer slated to testify on behalf of John "Buttman" Stagliano has been revealed. Headed for the witness stand is Lorelei Lee, an actress who participates in the milk enema three-way of Milk Nymphos that D.C. jurors viewed in open court earlier this week. Jurors likely know plenty about Lee by now, but she's filed a motion to keep one detail private—her real name.

Yesterday, Lee's attorney Carmen D. Hernandez filed a motion for a protective order to withhold Lee's legal name and allow her to testify under her stage name (which Lee takes from the Marilyn Monroe character in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes). "Ms. Lee, who is scheduled to be a witness for the defense in the instant trial, seeks for reasons of safety to be allowed to testify under her professional stage name without disclosing her true identity and address in open court," the filing reads. The filing goes on to argue that judges "have wide latitude to impose reasonable limits on cross-examination based on concerns such as harassment, prejudice, confusion of the issues or the witness's safety."

For a porn star like Lee, the filing argues, simply testifying under one's legal name has the effect of threatening the witness. "[T]he need to protect the witness’ true identify in open court will protect her from explicit threats of danger," the filing reads. The exact nature of these "explicit threats" are not explained, but the filing says that Lee will present "identifiable need for protection" in a "separate sealed submission" to the court.

Witness intimidation isn't the only rationale for allowing celebrities to testify under their stage names. Professionally, the witness "is identified in the movie credits by her stage name, Lorelei Lee"—and it's in her context as a porn performer that she plans to testify. The filing cites a 1992 decision in the First Circuit: "One can easily envision circumstances in which a witness testifying under his birth name might present a much more spectral figure than if he or she testified under an adopted name," the decision reads. "For example, the appellations Issur Danielovitch Demsky, Betty Joan Perske, and Marion Michael Morrison will probably be of less assistance in placing the affected individuals in their proper settings than their screen names (Kirk Douglas, Lauren Bacall, and John Wayne, respectively)."

The government is already aware of Lee's real name, the filing reads, so "the use of a pseudonym merely shields the identity of the witness from the press and public." But yesterday, prosecutors for the government aired plans to oppose the motion. Using the performer’s stage name in the legal proceedings “gives some air of legitimacy to the porn star,” Pamela Satterfield argued for the government. “She shouldn’t be treated any differently than anyone else in this case.” Judge Richard Leon has yet to rule on the matter.

  • http://www.twitter.com/amaditalks Amadi

    Oh yes, how dare we say that even legal sex work is legitimate!

  • http://www.paulieandpauline.com Paulie & Pauline

    Lorelei is one of the porn stars we profiled in our book of documentary photos "Off the Set: Porn Stars and Their Partners." We know Lorelei pretty well, and we know that she and other porn performers have a definite interest in protecting their identities. The government's efforts to "out" her are a shameful attempt at witness bullying and are typical of the slut-shaming attitudes aimed at the women in porn. Lorelei is a thoughtful, whipsmart, empowered individual and a talented-as-hell writer, as she demonstrates in the essay she wrote for "Off the Set." She'll certainly make for a formidable witness for the defense and we can't wait to read about her testimony. We're so proud of you, Lorelei!

    Amanda - thanks so much for your coverage of the Stagliano trial. Email us - we'd love to send you a copy of our book!

  • Legba Carrefour

    Fucking bizarre. Simultaneous to this, the federal government (through the Department of Health and Human Services) is investigating the leaking of personal records of two actresses who were STI tested by the Adult Industry Medical Health Care Foundation (AIM). The testing results are made available to producers, one of whom decided to leak the information to an industry blog. One of the major points of contention was the leaking of the actresses' real names and social security numbers and addresses and medical records.

    So the federal government is opening a criminal investigation into one outing of sex workers but actively pursuing the outing of sex workers in another case.

  • Walt Disney

    I wonder if they ever used Soy or Almond Milk...

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