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Another Prenda Lawyer Pleads Guilty to Porn Scam

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By George Khoury, Esq. on August 21, 2018 1:14 PM

The massive lawyer-led illegal download of pornography scam masterminded by Prenda Law is back in the news. And as you might expect, one of the attorneys disbarred and criminally charged in the Prenda fallout has finally taken a guilty plea.

If you were thinking in 2017: "Thank goodness, it's finally over." You were wrong. That guilty plea was entered on the condition that an appeal can still be filed as to whether the case should have been dismissed by the district court. So for those of you that love the drama, there are more details below, and probably a few years worth of appeals, at least.

What Prenda Law Porn Extortion Scheme?

If you need a refresher on the whole Prenda Law scheme (because it has been some time since these morally casual geniuses made headlines), basically, these guys acquired the rights to and made their own pornography, then put those videos up on the internet in places they knew would lead to illegal downloads, then threatened to sue individuals that illegally downloaded their copyrighted videos, unless of course the individual settled for a few grand.

Obviously, their targets felt like they were being extorted as being sued for illegally downloading pornography would be rather embarrassing for nearly anyone to fight. And as more and more details were revealed about just how intricate of a scheme was involved, it turned out that those individuals were right, and a whole bunch of people were involved.

This most recent plea involves Paul Hansmeier, a Minnesota attorney. Specifically he plead out to conspiracy charges on mail fraud, wire fraud, and money laundering. Although the press release may claim that "Paul Hansmeier's guilty plea today closes a sad chapter in the career of an attorney who abused his license to practice law and disgraced the bar," Hansmeier and Prenda have certainly left a legacy, or his mark, on several areas of law. Additionally, as noted above, the plea is conditioned on Hansmeier being allowed to appeal a matter that, if successful, could overturn his conviction potentially.

And though Hansmeier may have been disbarred, we all know that while the license is ephemeral, the knowledge (for better or worse) is forever, and he's probably not going to stop appealing until every procedural device is exhausted.

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