Michael Avenatti sentenced to prison for defrauding Stormy Daniels
New York, New York - Showman attorney Michael Avenatti was sentenced Thursday to four years in prison for defrauding porn star Stormy Daniels when he represented her in litigation against former President Donald Trump.
The disgraced lawyer faced two to 20 years for stealing Daniels’ book advance payments in 2018 totaling more than $300,000.
Avenatti, who was already serving time for trying to shake down Nike for more than $20 million, dumped his lawyers on the trial’s second day and moved to represent himself against criminal charges.
"Avenatti stole from his client. He did so to support his own business and fund his own lifestyle. He did so despite presenting himself to the world as his client’s champion and defender and despite using that feigned credibility to secure fame and pursue political influence," reads an excerpt of the government’s sentencing letter filed May 26.
"And he did so by exploiting his position of trust and authority as an attorney, by forging his client’s signature, and by lying to his client and others repeatedly and callously for months."
Stormy Daniels: "You’re very entitled, yes!"
The feds debunked parts of the 51-year-old’s closing argument at trial.
They said the first words out of Avenatti’s mouth were untrue when he told the jury, "When my father was a teenager, he sold hot dogs at a ballpark."
"In fact, the defendant’s father, William John Avenatti, was an executive for Anheuser-Busch," the government wrote.
Stormy Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, testified for the prosecution and stayed calm under cross-examination by her former lawyer. The publicity-hungry Californian took a leaf out of Trump’s playbook and sought to portray her as an untrustworthy, delusional woman with a grudge, while bizarrely fixating on her claims that she could speak with the dead.
He tried to argue the advance money for her memoir Full Disclosure, which detailed her alleged affair with Trump, was rightfully his.
"'Attorney and client agree that attorney shall be entitled' – you understood that that meant that I would be entitled if those things occurred, right?" Avenatti asked Daniels on January 28.
"You’re very entitled, yes," Daniels shot back.
Cover photo: Collage: Phillip Faraone / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP & REUTERS