Minnesota lawyer sentenced to 14 years for porn scheme

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- A federal judge has sentenced a Minneapolis lawyer to 14 years in prison for running a porn-related scheme.

Paul Hansmeier was convicted of running the multi-million-dollar fraud scheme from 2011 to 2014. Prosecutors allege Hansmeier extracted settlements from hundreds of people who feared being exposed as pornography consumers.

The Star Tribune reports U.S. District Judge Joan Ericksen told Hansmeier at Friday's sentencing it was "almost incalculable how much your abuse of trust has harmed the administration of justice."

Prosecutors say when Hansmeier was challenged by judges around the country, he blamed other lawyers who were hired to file lawsuits on his behalf, lied to the courts about his own involvement and ordered evidence to be destroyed.

Hansmeier's co-defendant, former Chicago lawyer John Steele, pleaded guilty earlier and awaits sentencing.


Information from: Star Tribune, http://www.startribune.com