In a scenario many may call a pound of flesh for former President Trump, a federal judge has sentenced infamous lawyer Michael Avenatti to 2½ years or 30 months behind bars. In a damning assessment of his own actions, former porn star Stormie Daniels’ lawyer said his children should be “ashamed” of him.
Fifty-year-old Avenatti gained notoriety while representing former porn star Daniels, in a case that made national headlines as it involved the then President of the United States. The lawyer became a staple on cable TV news, but the celebrity status would not last long. His futile attempt to extort sportswear giant Nike has landed him in hot water.
Sobbing as he addressed the court, Avenatti expressed grief at losing “the privilege of practicing law again” and destroying “my career, my relationships and my life.” He hopes that by being ashamed of his actions, his children will show “their moral compass is exactly where it should be.”
According to the US Attorney’s Office, Avenatti had defrauded a client and tried to extort Nike. Employing threats of economic and reputational harm, he sought to extort Nike while defrauding his client, who wanted to make potential claims against the company. After a three-week jury trial, he was found guilty on Valentine’s Day.
District Judge, Paul G. Gardephe, highlighted Avenatti’s zero criminal record. He was, however, less magnanimous in describing his conduct as outrageous. According to the judge, Avenatti used his client’s claims to advance his agenda to extort millions of dollars from Nike.
While Avenatti will surrender on September 15, the road ahead is perhaps rockier than he’ll like to imagine. He has three years of supervised release after he leaves prison. It’s fitting to say that Nike’s stock price has survived Avenatti, and it’s certainly the end of the road for a seemingly brilliant but crooked lawyer.
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