At the U.S. Federal Courthouse in downtown today, civil rights attorney Steve Yagman has finally been ordered to surrender to prison authorities on Monday, March 31, at a federal prison and medical facility in Butner, North Carolina. The renegade lawyer, who's made a career of battling the LAPD and the feds, will soon no longer be a free man.
Judge Stephen V. Wilson gave the order after one of Yagman's failed appeals, which asked a federal "motions panel" to keep the lawyer out on bail as he waited for a decision on the main appeal of his June 22, 2007, conviction of multiple laundering charges as well as bankruptcy fraud and tax evasion. The motions panel decided against Yagman, and the first appeal is still pending, with renowned constitutional lawyer and scholar Erwin Chemerinsky working on the case.
Yagman, though, did not go without his customary fight. Today, the civil rights attorney asked the judge for a later surrender date so he could attend a seder with Chemerinsky and make an appearance at a few weddings. Wilson denied that request. Yagman then asked for an "en-banc" reconsideration of the motions panel decision, a legal ploy that's rarely used and asks all of the judges of the U.S. District Courts of the 9th Circuit to look into his bail motion. That request is pending.
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In the meantime, federal prosecutors are happy that Yagman is now only a week away from heading to the pokey. "We're pleased the court has set a date for Yagman," says Assistant U.S. Attorney Beong-Soo Kim, who tried the case with colleague Alka Sagar. In court, Yagman said he'll fly down to North Carolina and meet Chemerinsky before heading into prison for what could be the next three years of his life.