Former Pittsburgh protection legal professional will get 5 years in jail for marijuana distribution

A former protection attorney who grew to become recognised for his satirical advertisements giving his capability to “think like a criminal” will expend five years in jail for his job in a massive-scale marijuana ring.

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

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

Prosecutors explained Muessig was discovered as a significant-scale cannabis supplier principally targeting Braddock and running out of a drug stash household on Covode Avenue. On May possibly 24, 2019, investigators who experienced set up surveillance in the vicinity of the dwelling stated they observed people today carrying substantial black trash luggage with environmentally friendly stickers identifying the pressure of cannabis from within the property to autos parked outside.

That early morning, Muessig was observed carrying a black backpack into the house, the governing administration explained. Afterwards, he and yet another co-defendant carried two big containers out of the household to a truck parked in the neighbor’s driveway.

The truck still left, and law enforcement pulled it in excess of, discovering $400,000 in the boxes that the gentlemen experienced carried out. Within the stash home, investigators explained they recovered 404 kilos of marijuana and $5,000 in money.

In their sentencing memo searching for the obligatory five-yr sentence, prosecutors for the U.S. Attorney’s place of work cited Muessig’s 2014 YouTube video clip entitled “Thanks Dan!!!”

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

“Consequences, they positive suck don’t they?” Muessig stated in the movie. “America was crafted on liberty — not on a bunch of persons with additional money than you telling you what you can and can’t do with all their stupid guidelines. Guidelines are arbitrary.”

In 2014, when the video clip was designed, it was considered globally and equally lauded and condemned. Muessig instructed the Tribune-Evaluate at the time that it was meant to be ironic and funny but also convey a critical message.

In its sentencing memo, the government observed that Muessig is perfectly-educated and had the means to aid himself.

“But that was not ample,” the prosecution wrote. “Mr. Muessig needed much more funds. As a consequence, he decided to just take a shortcut, employing his skill to ‘think like a criminal’ and acting on his assertion that ‘laws are arbitrary’ by setting up a nicely-orchestrated, illegal marijuana distribution operation in Pittsburgh.”

“While Mr. Muessig’s rap video may possibly have been a ‘satire,’ his steps talk louder than phrases,” the prosecution additional.

In his statement to the courtroom on Tuesday, Muessig stated he is “a markedly distinct person” today than he was at the time of the raid.

In the 3 years since then, he explained to the judge, he has labored to change his lifestyle.

“I recognize that does not abrogate what I did,” Muessig reported.

Regardless of his rapid guilty plea in the case, Muessig informed the court, “I do not concur with the legislation that I broke,” but he reported he acknowledged responsibility for breaking it.

“I’ll choose my punishment like a person,” Muessig said. “I just hope just one working day soon I can be reunited with my household and community.”

Much more than two dozen individuals submitted letters on his behalf, describing Muessig as kind, considerate, caring and generous.

“Despite his crime, Daniel is without doubt a individual that contributes to culture somewhat than requires from it,” wrote Rasmus Svoldgaard Nielsen of Denmark, who has regarded Muessig for 15 several years.

Letters ended up submitted by buddies from legislation college, family of former purchasers he assisted in his legislation follow and loved ones.

“Dan has so considerably much more to lead to his group,” wrote legislation university classmate Sara E. Furlow. “He has taken comprehensive obligation for his actions and has not once wavered. He has been open, sincere and remorseful.”

Numerous writers observed that Muessig has dedicated himself about the past 3 decades to becoming a greater man or woman, such as providing foods to folks through the covid-19 pandemic.

“Dan has an lively position inside the Jewish community, which is an extension of his intrinsic desire to stand up for the rights of all historically persecuted people today. This need to support other folks took shape in his perform as a prison defense legal professional, with a primary concentration on encouraging the numerous persons from traditional socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds ensnared in the lawful method,” wrote An-Jey Andrews Su.

Muessig, who stopped training regulation in 2017 and worked in house management soon after that, was specified authorization to self-report to jail.

His legal professional asked for that he be permitted to serve his jail term in Morgantown, W.Va. Muessig requested the choose to propose that he be permitted to function as an educator there to assistance other inmates.

Paula Reed Ward is a Tribune-Overview personnel writer. You can get hold of Paula by e-mail at [email protected] or via Twitter .