Criminal Justice

Ex-film industry lawyer gets prison time for blackmailing woman he met on 'sugar daddies' website

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A fired top lawyer for the film industry has been sentenced to a year in prison for blackmailing and sexually abusing a woman he met through an online “sugar daddies” website.

Steven B. Fabrizio, 58, of Chevy Chase, Maryland, was sentenced Friday, according to a press release and reports by the Washington Post, and Reuters.

Fabrizio had been sentenced to 30 months in prison, but all but one year of that time was suspended on condition that he successfully complete three years of supervised probation. He will also have to register as a sex offender for 10 years after his release from prison.

Fabrizio was fired from his position as global general counsel for the Motion Picture Association of America after he was charged in August 2019. He pleaded guilty in July 2021 to one count each of blackmail and third-degree sexual abuse.

Fabrizio met the woman in August 2019 after connecting with her through an online service called “SeekingArrangement,” according to allegations cited by the Washington Post. They had consensual sex, and Fabrizio paid her $400, as they had agreed. When Fabrizio sought another meeting, the woman declined.

The woman said she thought Fabrizio had been scary and rough, and she “bawled her eyes out” after the encounter, according to a police affidavit.

Fabrizio then sent a series of texts to the woman threatening to disclose that she took money for sex to her employer, parents and landlord unless she agreed to more sexual encounters.

Fabrizio sexually abused the woman when she met him a second time, prosecutors said. He had promised to stop contacting her afterword, but he sent more texts threatening to expose her conduct, according to prosecutors. The woman went to the police.

According to a police affidavit, a third meeting was arranged. Police arrested Fabrizio after he parked his car for the meeting.

Fabrizio told the sentencing judge, Judge Marisa J. Demeo of the District of Columbia’s superior court, that his conduct was “a shameful lapse in the way I’ve tried to live my life,” according to the Washington Post’s coverage.

“I’ve thought almost every day about the pain I’ve caused her, and the remorse and the shame for the way I treated her has been overwhelming. It has shaken me to my core,” he said.

Fabrizio’s law license was suspended on an interim basis in Washington, D.C., last month.

Fabrizio began working at the MPAA in 2013 and led its efforts to fight online piracy, according to previous coverage. He was formerly the co-chair of Jenner & Block’s content, media and entertainment practice and a former in-house lawyer at the Recording Industry Association of America.

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