August 11, 2022

Previous Pittsburgh defense attorney will get 5 a long time in prison for marijuana distribution

A previous defense lawyer who turned recognised for his satirical ads presenting his skill to “think like a criminal” will expend five yrs in prison for his function in a massive-scale cannabis ring.

Daniel Muessig, 40, of Squirrel Hill, was sentenced Tuesday by Senior U.S. District Choose Arthur J. Schwab to the obligatory jail sentence allowed.

He pleaded responsible in November to conspiracy to distribute marijuana and possession with intent to distribute cannabis.

Prosecutors reported Muessig was recognized as a significant-scale cannabis supplier principally targeting Braddock and running out of a drug stash dwelling on Covode Avenue. On Could 24, 2019, investigators who experienced set up surveillance in the vicinity of the house stated they saw men and women carrying big black trash bags with environmentally friendly stickers determining the pressure of marijuana from within the household to motor vehicles parked outdoors.

That early morning, Muessig was seen carrying a black backpack into the property, the govt reported. Afterwards, he and another co-defendant carried two huge bins out of the household to a truck parked in the neighbor’s driveway.

The truck still left, and police pulled it around, locating $400,000 in the boxes that the adult males experienced carried out. Inside the stash home, investigators reported they recovered 404 pounds of marijuana and $5,000 in hard cash.

In their sentencing memo seeking the necessary five-calendar year sentence, prosecutors for the U.S. Attorney’s business cited Muessig’s 2014 YouTube video clip entitled “Thanks Dan!!!”

In it, actors portraying persons committing crimes thank Muessig for his work defending them in courtroom.

“Consequences, they positive suck really don’t they?” Muessig said in the online video. “America was crafted on liberty — not on a bunch of individuals with far more income than you telling you what you can and cannot do with all their stupid rules. Legislation are arbitrary.”

In 2014, when the online video was built, it was seen around the world and equally lauded and condemned. Muessig told the Tribune-Evaluation at the time that it was supposed to be ironic and funny but also convey a major information.

In its sentencing memo, the federal government mentioned that Muessig is very well-educated and had the means to assist himself.

“But that was not sufficient,” the prosecution wrote. “Mr. Muessig wanted extra cash. As a result, he made the decision to take a shortcut, using his potential to ‘think like a criminal’ and performing on his statement that ‘laws are arbitrary’ by developing a properly-orchestrated, illegal marijuana distribution operation in Pittsburgh.”

“While Mr. Muessig’s rap movie may perhaps have been a ‘satire,’ his steps talk louder than terms,” the prosecution included.

In his statement to the court on Tuesday, Muessig mentioned he is “a markedly distinctive person” now than he was at the time of the raid.

In the 3 a long time considering that then, he explained to the choose, he has worked to adjust his life.

“I recognize that doesn’t abrogate what I did,” Muessig claimed.

In spite of his swift guilty plea in the case, Muessig explained to the court docket, “I do not concur with the regulation that I broke,” but he stated he accepted responsibility for breaking it.

“I’ll consider my punishment like a guy,” Muessig reported. “I just hope one particular day shortly I can be reunited with my spouse and children and local community.”

More than two dozen persons submitted letters on his behalf, describing Muessig as variety, thoughtful, caring and generous.

“Despite his criminal offense, Daniel is certainly a person that contributes to culture relatively than normally takes from it,” wrote Rasmus Svoldgaard Nielsen of Denmark, who has known Muessig for 15 many years.

Letters ended up submitted by mates from regulation school, relations of former clientele he assisted in his regulation practice and cherished types.

“Dan has so significantly a lot more to lead to his local community,” wrote law college classmate Sara E. Furlow. “He has taken whole obligation for his steps and has not the moment wavered. He has been open up, sincere and remorseful.”

Numerous writers pointed out that Muessig has focused himself around the previous 3 decades to turning out to be a better individual, together with delivering meals to folks through the covid-19 pandemic.

“Dan has an lively function in just the Jewish group, which is an extension of his intrinsic want to stand up for the legal rights of all historically persecuted folks. This wish to assist other people took shape in his get the job done as a felony defense lawyer, with a primary emphasis on assisting the lots of individuals from traditional socioeconomically deprived backgrounds ensnared in the authorized process,” wrote An-Jey Andrews Su.

Muessig, who stopped practicing law in 2017 and worked in residence administration just after that, was specified permission to self-report to prison.

His lawyer asked for that he be permitted to serve his prison term in Morgantown, W.Va. Muessig questioned the choose to propose that he be allowed to operate as an educator there to aid other inmates.

Paula Reed Ward is a Tribune-Evaluation staff members author. You can speak to Paula by e mail at [email protected] or by using Twitter .