Sentencing is again delayed for civil rights attorney

Times Staff Writer

The sentencing of Venice Beach civil rights attorney Stephen Yagman on bankruptcy fraud, tax evasion and money laundering convictions was postponed a second time Monday, following a 4 1/2-hour hearing in federal court in Los Angeles.

Judge Stephen V. Wilson said earlier in the day that he intended to impose a sentence Monday, but had a change of heart.

“That’s enough,” Wilson proclaimed about 5:50 p.m.

Wilson cut short Yagman’s testimony on his own behalf after the lawyer had been speaking for about two hours and indicated he had several more points to cover.


Yagman began his comments by saying that the worst thing that could happen to a lawyer is to be convicted of breaking the law, “and that has happened to me. I am responsible. I stand convicted.”

Yagman then went into great detail seeking to explain his conduct before Wilson was to impose his sentence. He is expected to resume his remarks to the judge today.

In the hearing, Assistant U.S. Atty. Alka Sagar defended the government’s recommendation that Yagman be sentenced to nine years in federal prison.

She said he used his knowledge of the legal system to commit crimes and showed no remorse for doing so.

“This defendant truly believed he was above the law and not subject to it,” she said.

The hearing is scheduled to resume today at 9:30 a.m.

Yagman, who has spent his career filing civil rights cases against the LAPD and other law enforcement agencies, was convicted in June. He remains free on $100,000 bond.