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‘#1 Pimp’ gets life sentence

A jury convicted Samuel Nichols last year on several sex trafficking counts

Convicted sex trafficker Samuel Nichols got life in prison this week in federal court in Chicago.
Convicted sex trafficker Samuel Nichols got life in prison this week in federal court in Chicago.
Cook County Sheriff’s Department

Samuel Nichols tattooed the words “#1 Pimp” on his stomach, the feds say.

He bought brand-name clothes, played video games and smoked marijuana while selling women for sex. He also allegedly beat, impregnated and branded them.

And now, a federal judge has sentenced the 34-year-old sex trafficker to life in prison, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

U.S. District Judge Virginia Kendall handed down the harsh sentence Monday, more than a year after a jury found Nichols guilty of several sex trafficking counts.

Prosecutors said Nichols spent at least three years running a “staggering” and “horrific” trafficking operation in which he sold several young women and at least four minors — including a girl as young as 13. The feds said he made up to $2,000 a day, flashed his money on Instagram and funded a rap group called Hit Squad while his victims endured what “was very close to torture.”

Nichols allegedly slapped, punched, kicked, choked, dragged and beat his victims. He blinded a woman in one eye by shooting her in the face with a BB gun, according to prosecutors, and then wrote it off at trial as a simple example of domestic violence.

In fact, the feds say Nichols treated the trial as his own “personal circus.” They said he defied a judge who told him to name women he managed but didn’t have sex with.

“I’m not giving out names,” Nichols said. “It’s not gonna happen.”

When the judge told him, “I’m directing you to answer the question,” Nichols replied, “And I told you no.”

Nichols acted as his own attorney at trial. Later, lawyer James Graham wrote a memo on Nichols’ behalf asking for a lighter, 15-year sentence. He explained that Nichols was “very, very immature at times while representing himself.”

“In part, Samuel Nichols’ juvenile actions were as a result of losing all hope in his situation,” Graham wrote.

But prosecutors say Nichols also spent the trial further intimidating and humiliating his victims, laughing as he cross-examined them with embarrassing questions.

At one point, prosecutors say, Nichols said he couldn’t think of “one person in the world” for whom he feels any respect.