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Michael Avenatti Sentenced to Four Years in Prison For Extorting Stormy Daniels

Michael Avenatti Sentenced to Four Years in Prison For Extorting Stormy Daniels

In one of the greatest political falls from grace in recent memory, Michael Avenatti was sentenced on Thursday to four years in prison for stealing book proceeds from Stormy Daniels, the adult film actor whom he used to catapult himself to fame as he represented her in courtrooms and cable news programs during her legal battles with Donald Trump.

Avenatti, who is currently incarcerated, was sentenced in Manhattan federal court by Judge Jesse M. Furman. The sentence means that Avenatti will spend another 2 1/2 years in prison on top of the 2 1/2 years he is already serving after another fraud conviction.

The judge called Avenatti’s behavior “craven and egregious” and blamed it on “blind ambition,” saying Avenatti’s crime against Daniels was made “out of desperation” when his law firm was struggling financially.

 

Avenatti represented himself at his trial earlier this year, brusquely cross-examining his former client for hours about their experiences in early 2018, when she signed a book deal that provided an $800,000 payout. Prosecutors said he illegally pocketed about $300,000 of her advance on “Full Disclosure,” published in fall 2018.

 

Judge Furman also denied Avenatti’s request to appear in court in a suit, forcing the former flashy attorney to deliver a lengthy statement, during which he tried to portray himself as “a champion of his clients.”

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Avenatti was convicted in 2020 of threatening to ruin Nike’s reputation if it did not pay him up to $25 million, and he also faces a retrial in California on charges that he cheated clients and others of millions of dollars there.

In a pre-sentence submission, Avenatti’s lawyers cited an apology letter Avenatti recently wrote to Daniels, who did not appear in court, in which he said: “I am truly sorry.”

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