Why was Stormy Daniels’ Trump lawyer, Michael Avenatti, sentenced to 4 years in prison?
The California lawyer, who once took on then-President Donald Trump, has been handed down his sentence for defrauding the porn actress.
Reports of a married US President paying off a porn star to keep her quiet about sexual relations before the elections are, unsurprisingly, headline news. And it was on the back of Donald Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen paying Stormy Daniels $130,000 that Michael Avenatti, the brazen California lawyer, became a household name, as he representing Daniels in lawsuits against Trump. The MAGA leader denies these accusations.
Well, on Thursday, Avenatti, who had freed Daniels from her nondisclosure agreement with Trump, was sentence to four years in prison. Why? For defrauding his best-known former client.
Stormy fraud leaves Avenatti behind bars
Avenatti was convicted in February by a federal judge of wire fraud and aggravated identity after a two-week trial, agreeing with prosecutors that he embezzled nearly $300,000 in book proceeds intended for Daniels, whose given name is Stephanie Clifford. U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman imposed the sentence in federal court in Manhattan.
The 51-year old had already been serving a 2-1/2-year sentence stemming from his 2020 conviction for trying to extort millions of dollars from Nike Inc. And now eighteen months of the Daniels sentence will run concurrent with the Nike sentence, meaning Avenatti faces a combined five years in prison.
“I have destroyed my career, my relationships and my reputation,” Avenatti told Furman before being sentenced in the Daniels case.
Prosecutors had recommended that Avenatti receive a “substantial” prison term, including a mandatory two-year term for identity theft. Avenatti, who represented himself, proposed a three-year sentence in the Daniels case, with one year running concurrent with his Nike sentence. He wore beige prison garb and blue sneakers to the sentencing, after Furman rejected his request that he be allowed to wear a suit.
The lawyers successful career unraveled in 2019 when he was criminally charged in New York in the Nike case, and in California with stealing millions of dollars from five other clients. The California case is ongoing following a mistrial last August.
Daniels testified that Avenatti “betrayed” her by diverting money to an account he controlled without telling her. During cross-examination, Avenatti tried to undermine Daniels’ credibility by focusing on her interest in paranormal activity. Daniels, who is producing the TV project “Spooky Babes,” said she could speak with the dead.
In other news: Amber Heard’s sister breaks silence over Depp verdict