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Yagman to Feds: No Surrender

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Wed, Jan 30, 2008 at 4:29 PM

The wily civil rights lawyer from Venice Beach just won’t go quietly. Even though Steve Yagman was found guilty of multiple money laundering charges as well as bankruptcy fraud and tax evasion in June, sentenced to three years in federal prison in November, and told to surrender to federal authorities on January 15, the tenacious attorney is still nowhere near the clink.

It’s somewhat of twisted story, but, according to sources at the U.S. District Attorney’s Office, it goes something like this: Yagman and his lawyer Barry Tarlow filed an appeal of the jury’s June 22 decision a few days after the verdict was handed down. He was then sentenced to three years in federal prison, starting on January 15. But Yagman received a postponement from the court, with a new surrender date of January 29.

During all of this legal maneuvering, Yagman then asked U.S. District Judge Stephen Wilson, who oversaw the civil rights attorney’s trial, if he could remain free on bail as his appeal worked its way through the federal court system. Wilson denied the request, so Team Yagman filed an appeal of that ruling on January 28—a day before he was supposed to surrender on January 29.

The bail appeal, according to federal law, automatically stays Yagman’s surrender date until a federal “motions panel” rules on the matter. The panel will probably hand down its decision in a week or two, according to sources familiar with the Yagman case. As a result, the attorney who loves messing with any and all authority remains free.

When, and if, Yagman finally does serve time, sources believe he’ll be shipped off to a penitentiary in Butner, North Carolina, which has one of the few medical facilities in the federal prison system. Yagman claims to have special health needs. Always a vigorous litigator for his clients, Yagman is now working every conceivable legal angle on his own behalf.

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