Prenda Law porn-troll saga ends with prison for founder


Enlarge / John L. Steele, photographed in Chicago in 2010. (credit: Nancy Stone | Chicago Tribune/MCT via Getty Images)

Former attorney John Steele was sentenced this week to five years in prison for his role in the Prenda Law porn-trolling scheme, putting an end to a years-long legal drama wild and stupid enough to be prime-time TV.

Steele pleaded guilty in 2017 to federal charges of fraud and money laundering and then cooperated with authorities in the investigation into his former legal partner Paul Hansmeier. That cooperation weighed heavily in Steele’s favor at his sentencing, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports.

US District Judge Joan Ericksen said federal guidelines recommended a sentence of 10 to 12-1/2 years for Steele’s “vile scheme” but agreed that given Steele’s extreme willingness to cooperate, his defense attorney’s recommendation of five years was “eminently fair.”

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