Andrew Luster in 2003 is led out of the U.S. Customs building after arriving… (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles…)
A great grandson of cosmetics giant Max Factor saw his sentence cut Tuesday to 50 years in state prison in connection with a series of videotaped rapes.
Andrew Luster was sentenced by Judge Kathryne Ann Stoltz, who recently vacated the 124-year sentence the convicted rapist received in 2003.
His lawyers had hoped to secure a sentence of 25 years or less on the 86 counts related to videotaped sex acts and the use of a date rape drug on three women.
Luster's case drew global attention after he jumped his $1-million bail and fled to Mexico during the proceedings. He was later apprehended there by celebrity bounty hunter Duane "Dog" Chapman.
Stoltz had previously refused to grant Luster a new trial but agreed his unusually long sentence needed to be reconsidered. Stoltz, a retired Los Angeles County Superior Court judge, had noted the trial court did not state reasons for the long sentence, as required by law.
But Stoltz deemed that an 8- to 12-year plea offer that was being discussed before Luster's trial was no longer valid. Prosecutors in the case have contended it was never a firm deal in the first place.
Luster's current attorney argued the flight to Mexico was choreographed for a fee by one of Luster's former lawyers. They said the now-deceased attorney deliberately frightened Luster into running for his life, repeatedly telling him he'd die in prison at the hands of other inmates or corrupt officers.
In her ruling, Stoltz made clear she wasn't buying arguments hinging on ineffectiveness of Luster's previous attorneys, saying he left for Mexico voluntarily.
Luster "had a somewhat pugnacious attitude right from the outset," the judge wrote, citing his statement to police about one of his victims: "If the D.A. files charges, it's gonna go to a jury and she's gonna look like a fool...Cause I'm gonna get a top-notch lawyer and she'll be cross-examined and ripped to pieces, guaranteed, you know."
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