Law enforcement officers across Southern California probably spent much of Tuesday smiling from ear to ear, as Los Angeles attorney Stephen G. Yagman was sentenced to three years in the federal pen.
Yagman has made a career of suing cops and law enforcement agencies on behalf of gang members, Guantanamo Bay terrorists, and other dirtbags. He was sentenced Tuesday after being convicted of tax evasion, money laundering, and bankruptcy fraud.
Yagman's defense argued that his conviction was the result of officers targeting him because of his history of suing law enforcement agencies and officers.
Yagman spoke for four hours before sentencing. During the oration, the convicted attorney quoted Franz Kafka, Woody Allen, Abraham Lincoln, and Socrates. He said that the government "want(s) to scorch everything around me…destroy me." The sentencing hearing lasted an extraordinary three days.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Alka Sagar shot down Yagman's defense that he was being persecuted for suing cops. "This is not because of who he is, but because he's a lawyer," Sagar told the court. "He knew full well what he was doing, and he used his knowledge of the law to commit crimes in this case."
Prosecutors had asked the judge for a sentence of nine years. The three-year sentence includes an additional two years of supervised release after he serves his prison term. He is scheduled to surrender to authorities on Jan. 15.
Yagman told the Los Angeles Times that he would appeal the verdict.
The government investigation lasted five years and involved tax liability of more than $100,000. Yagman was indicted last year on 19 counts of tax evasion, bankruptcy fraud, and money laundering.
Although Yagman painted a portrait of himself as a defender of the downtrodden, the California state bar disagrees. He has been suspended twice for charging clients "unconscionable" fees.