Patterico's Pontifications


L.A. Times Once Again Repeats Slanders by Convicted Felon Stephen Yagman

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General,Scum — Patterico @ 11:24 am

The L.A. Times has this fawning description of convicted felon Stephen Yagman in this morning’s paper:

Civil rights attorney Stephen G. Yagman, whose relentless quarter-century crusade against police brutality drew both admiration and ire, was convicted Friday in federal court of 19 felony counts of tax evasion, bankruptcy fraud and money laundering.

The article was co-written by Yagman sycophant Henry Weinstein, who never manages to write about Yagman without repeating his slanderous accusations against my former boss, the Hon. William D. Keller. Today’s article is, of course, no exception — and Weinstein manages to accomplish his usual trick of pretending that the allegations have substance:

When he accused U.S. District Judge William D. Keller of being anti-Semitic, a special disciplinary committee suspended Yagman from practicing in the federal courts for two years. Some 100 local lawyers rallied to his side, and a year later, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the suspension, saying it violated Yagman’s 1st Amendment rights.

Now, all of this is technically true. More than 100 local lawyers, including Eugene Volokh, did sign a legal brief that agreed with Yagman on the First Amendment issue. And the Ninth Circuit did rule in Yagman’s favor — in 2-1 opinion, by the way, that Judge Frank Easterbrook has written is inconsistent with Supreme Court precedent. Yes, that is all true.

But someone unfamiliar with the controversy might easily interpret that passage as meaning that “some 100 local lawyers” and the Ninth Circuit agree with Yagman that Judge Keller is anti-Semitic.

If Weinstein wanted to be fair to Judge Keller, he would note that the Ninth Circuit did not say that Yagman’s slander was true — and in fact said in its opinion: “Yagman’s criticism of Judge Keller was harsh and intemperate, and in no way to be condoned.” If Weinstein cared about being fair, he would note that Yagman later apologized to Judge Keller for his remarks. If Weinstein cared about being fair, he might tell you that Yagman, that First Amendment hero, sued a retired LAPD cop for writing Yagman a private letter that hurt his delicate and tender feelings.

But Henry Weinstein doesn’t care about being fair to Judge Keller, and never has. So he repeats these slanderous accusations — and repeats them and repeats them and repeats them — and doesn’t tell you that they are baseless. In this way, Weinstein slanders a good man, time and time and time again.

But you know what? Now that Yagman is convicted, it’s a new ballgame — because people now have more information about the source of these baseless attacks on Judge Keller’s character. In the future, the person who said those slanderous things will always be “convicted felon Stephen Yagman.” Which reminds me — today’s article about Yagman’s conviction ends with this passage:

His co-counsel on one of the Guantanamo cases, Duke University constitutional law professor Erwin Chemerinsky, said he was saddened by the news. “Steve is a person of unlimited courage in his willingness to fight injustice.”

He planned to call Yagman later Friday night, but did not know what he would say. “Hallmark does not make cards for occasions like this.”

Oh, sure they do, Erwin. Here are a few right here:


25 Responses to “L.A. Times Once Again Repeats Slanders by Convicted Felon Stephen Yagman”

  1. I suppose in the LAT’s blinkered nostalgic anti-establishment, pro-socialist world view, Yagman is a Hero of the People.


    Patricia (824fa1)

  2. Hey Erwin — how much courage does it take to commit tax fraud and money laundering?

    For a guy who was once considered a serious legal commentator, Chemerinsky’s need to have something to say on any topic has made him a media buffoon. Just a “no comment” now and then over the last decade might have saved his reputation.

    Yagman was an idiot as a lawyer. I’ve read a lot of his cross-examinations of federal law enforcement agents. All it ever took was a good judge to keep him in line. If the judge let him run wild in a courtroom, he could cause havoc. But, when he was put to the test of respecting and obeying the rules of evidence, he clients were doomed because he had no real talent beyond theatrics and bombast.

    WLS (077d0d)

  3. Well said Patterico. Lets keep thise cards coming!!!

    Jerry LeFrois (de5a83)

  4. Patrick, you just don’t understand. If you are a man of the left, NOTHING you say, no matter how baseless an accusation, is to be dismissed. After all, being a man of the left means you never have to say you’re sorry. And they never do. Unless, of course, the probation report is pending.

    Mike K (86bddb)

  5. WLS, I grew tired of Chemerinsky’s poorly argued partisan columns in the Calif Bar assoc’s journal long ago. He lost credibility a decade ago with me.

    Robin Roberts (6c18fd)

  6. When you care enough to send the very best (and don’t mind having it screened first by jail censors)!

    But seriously: I commend you on your defense of Judge Keller. Judges do not often speak out in their own defense against such calumny, and those of us who know them, and know better, should.

    Beldar (98ae2d)

  7. I’ve got a whole line of cards:

    While you’ve been convicted of a jury of your peers,

    You’ll be out in not-so-many years

    And when you come back, wiser and stronger

    You’ll be a federal prisoner no longer

    More specifically:

    I know you lost because judges hate Jews

    Taxes fund judges, who made you lose

    Failing to pay was the only road to fairness

    You should have won with your debonairness

    But know that while you’re in prison, forgotten

    We’ll stand against taxes, ’cause the system is rotten

    And we’ll learn from your trial tactics mistake

    And we’ll keep all the money we didn’t let the government take

    Thanks, Stephen!


    JRM (355c21)

  8. I’m not especially interested in this case (IANAL), but I did click thru to the story. In context I think it’s obvious the 9th Circuit’s decision was based only on First Amendment grounds. I don’t think it can be read as suggesting that anyone besides Yagman believed the anti-Semitism accusation.

    Andrew J. Lazarus (36af38)

  9. So let me get this straight, when self-hating morons like Yagman and Chemerinsky get distracted from their specialty of freeing foreign Jew killers from Guantanamo, they pull out the “anti-Semitic” card?

    Sounds like these two give slimeballs a bad name.

    Mr. McFeeley (aa9aaa)

  10. OK, I get that you hate Yagman and rejoice at his conviction. I’ve admired his work and results, though I’ve heard about his personal abrasiveness.

    Who else has done nearly so much over the past couple of decades to challenge LAPD misdeeds, make them pay, and therefore keep them in check? Sure he is an easy target. (e.g. Claiming the police executed one of the massively-armed Hollywood bank robbers by delaying any medical assistance for an hour, thus letting him bleed to death with lame excuses of possible booby traps or “security” concerns.)

    If not for Yagman and his progeny, the police would have been firing real bullets rather than rubber rounds when out-of-control clearing the park a couple months ago.

    nosh (de5a83)

  11. Real bullets nosh? Try to back that up.

    Robin Roberts (6c18fd)

  12. “Who else has done nearly so much over the past couple of decades to challenge LAPD misdeeds, make them pay, and therefore keep them in check?”

    I’m more into results then ideology. Had this crook Yagman spent more time challenging street gang misdeeds then actively making LAPD’s job much harder, LA might actually be a nicer place to live today.

    But like most shrewd crooks, Yagman decided to go after the deep pockets of city hall rather than actually trying to make LA a safer place to live. Can anyone say 30%?

    Edgar Suit (12bdd4)

  13. yagman’s done a lot of good work in his career. police brutality does exist, and there aren’t many lawyers gravitating to that field. he also obtained justice for the victim of judge real. why should he challenge street gang misdeeds? angelenos have you for that. on the debit side, his attack on judge keller was lame, as was his suit against someone who hurt his feelings. i guess he should have paid his taxes; i didn’t hear the evidence but it’s clear the jury didn’t like him.

    your hallmark riff reminded me of the time i visited some friends, and the guy breathlessly informed me that “today is the seventh anniversary of when we first slept together.”

    “i don’t think hallmark makes a card for that.”

    assistant devil's advocate (3dbb4e)

  14. What else can anyone ever expect from the L.A Sewer the west coasts version of the New York Times or the PRAVDA

    krazy kagu (484aa9)

  15. “why should he (Yagman) challenge street gang misdeeds? angelenos have you (Edgar Suit) for that.” – assistant devil’s advocate

    As I alluded to earlier, I believe Yagman made a conscience decision NOT to challenge street gang violence because…there’s no money in it…and criminals like Yagman, as evidenced by his latest legal situation, are all about the money. Plus, fighting street crime is a nasty, dangerous business, best left to (ironically?) the very people Yagman spends his time suing – the LAPD.

    In conclusion, Yagman is the type of liberal scumbag (e.g. John Edwards, the Clintons, Al Gore, Jesse Jackson, etc.) who create specialties of “fighting injustice” and “saving the planet” for others. Yet when you follow the money trail vs. actual results, these same scumbag liberals are just setting up personal wealth schemes to profit themselves.

    LA is no safer a community via Yagman’s career. Rather, Yagman has cost the community untold treasure, has emboldened the criminal element, has demoralized and scared away those who are (were?) willing to fight the criminal element on their own turf…and has now cost the community even more in the court costs associated with convicting and hauling his criminal ass off to jail.

    Edgar Suit (12bdd4)

  16. The most remarkable thing about this case is lack of coverage in the mainstream media, especially given how well known Yagman was to the press. Even Court TV had nothing on it, though for a month it was the most significant trial in the country. No one has done more to damage police departments and communities across the country than Yagman, and law journals refer to the “Yagman
    Effect,” by which savvy citizens avoid public service roles because Yagman will sue councilmen, mayors and civilian review board members personally in cases against patrolmen, and try to plunder the officials financially and
    embarrass them in the press with personal disclosures.

    He also sues anyone who criticizes him in the press, though he has no compunction about slandering people routinely. To respond–to defend yourself–invites a suit by Yagman, et al.

    But the media just doesn’t want to besmirch Yagman, defender of the underdog.

    I was a client for 10 years and he almost ruined my life. I was a journalist who lived in an apartment house at Venice Beach, Yagman was a neigbor, and then casual friend. After asking him about an incident in which the LAPD anti-terrorism guys “encouraged” me to expose my film
    to avoid its seizure and my arrest while at a public event, Yagman said I had a good case, should consider suing. I gave it no thought until I ran into him a few days later, when he informed me that he’d sued the LAPD on my behalf for $10 million, there would be a large frontpage metro section story in the Times the next day, and that I’d “better watch out, because they’re out to get you now.”

    He lost the case, and then filed two or three appeals against my express wishes. I went along for the ride just for the sake of a good story, and to gather information on the man and his methods.

    I could go on at extreme length, but he never heard my story until after he sued, and when I told it to him, I was repeatedly told that if I said this or that, I’d lose the case. He suborned perjury at every step of the way, and I was in the uncomfortable position of trying to tell the truth despite an attorney who was completely unconcerned with it. And if he’d prepared properly, he wouldn’t have needed to encourage me to lie.

    He also practiced law–in reference to me anyway–while under suspension for the Real outbursts.

    When LA offered to settle before one of the appeals, I told Yagman to accept the offer. He was incensed, told me I owed him hundreds of thousands of dollars–if not millions–and I wasn’t going to get a penny. I told him to settle anyway, and we’d talk about the money later.

    Subsequently, I filed a complaint with the bar, took him to arbitration, beat him despite his lies and rudeness, his assertions about the fortune I owed him, and ultimately stiffed him for any fees.

    I made some calls when I heard about this trial–including to Patterico–and I was contacted eight days before the conviction, right after Yagman’s first day of testimony. A conference call was arranged, and I spent almost two hours on that Thursday night telling the feds what I knew. Subsequent to the conviction, I was told that my information may have made the critical difference.

    Yagman is an extraordinarily bad man who has convinced himself he is the only moral man in the world, and anyone who gets in his way must be destroyed. He has acted accordingly, and has waged a consistent war against American society as a whole, its institutions, public servants and clients.

    Interesting digression: It was Yagman who got the cops off for killing Eulia Love in 1979 in a dispute over a gas bill. That case is cited as the beginning of the end of the bad old LAPD. After that incident, and the cops getting off, the black community particularly felt abused by the LAPD, and then Yagman built a practice based on punishing the LAPD for the “injustice” he in fact perpetrated with that win.

    He should never see the light of day again. Short of that, however, I’d like to see him disbarred.

    I’ve started making some phone calls.

    kalinga579 (edc52f)

  17. Please…you have been on the Anti-Yagman crusade for years now.

    The fact is LAPD is one of the worst managed police departments in the nation. They routinely engage in felonious misconduct and the brass plays along with the charade.

    Did I hear anyone say RAMPART??????? or SIS????

    LAPD needs Yagman, and Luis Carillo, Erwin C. and all the rest of the crusaders that keep thise dirty slime ball, under educated LAPD losers in line.

    BTW-until their is a final decision, and all apeals are xhausted, Yagman cannot be called a convicted felon……

    Johnny Vegas (b7a771)

  18. BTW-until their is a final decision, and all apeals are xhausted, Yagman cannot be called a convicted felon……

    Watch me, “Johnny Vegas”:

    Stephen Yagman is a convicted felon.

    Patterico (2a65a5)

  19. That’s weak, Johnny. I’d say Patterico “owned” you before you even opened your trap.

    A great legal point though. You “can’t” call someone a criminal until a “final” decision is made (because the jury doesn’t count) and all appeals are exhausted.

    Was this little tidbit in your Cracker Jacks?

    Christoph (8741c8)

  20. Johnny,

    Any relation to Johnny Drama?

    Patterico (2a65a5)

  21. “LAPD needs Yagman”

    Surely there are watchdogs who aren’t dishonest fraudsters, tax evaders, and using their elderly relatives’ money totaling $776,110 to maintain a high lifestyle for themselves while their relatives go without?

    I mean LA’s pretty big. I think they’re gonna make it without Yagman.

    Christoph (8741c8)

  22. If LAPD is one of the worst managed departments in the country, it is the likes of Yagman who have made it so.

    Bar Sinister (d181ee)

  23. […] found guilty of tax fraud”, AP/Riverside Press-Enterprise, Jun. 22; Patterico, Jun. 22 and Jun. 23 (not sharing Duke lawprof Erwin Chemerinsky’s somber view of the verdict)). Last year (Jul. […]

    L.A. attorney ethics beat (38253e)

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    denyjlmgp gtcqonm (653cff)

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