Michael Avenatti, a fiery California attorney who once challenged then-President Donald Trump, was sentenced to four years in jail on Thursday for defrauding his most famous former client, porn actress Stormy Daniels.
After a two-week trial, a federal jury convicted Michael Avenatti of wire fraud and aggravated identity theft in February, agreeing with prosecutors that he stole over $300,000 in book proceeds intended for Daniels.
In federal court in Manhattan, U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman handed down the punishment.
Avenatti, 51, was already serving a 2-and-a-half-year term for his conviction in 2020 for attempting to extort millions of dollars from Nike Inc.
The Daniels term will run concurrently with the Nike sentence, so Avenatti will serve a total of five years in prison.
Michael Avenatti told Furman before being sentenced in the Daniels case, “I have wrecked my career, my relationships, and my reputation.”
Prosecutors had requested that Avenatti receive a “substantial” prison sentence, including a two-year obligatory term for identity theft.
Self-represented Avenatti recommended a three-year sentence in the Stormy Daniels case, with one year concurrent with his Nike sentence.
After Furman denied his plea to wear a suit, he wore beige prison attire and blue sneakers to his sentence.
Due to his appearances on cable television while defending Daniels in lawsuits against Trump, Avenatti became a household figure.
Stephanie Clifford Daniels, whose given name is Stephanie Clifford, received $130,000 from Trump’s former attorney Michael Cohen in exchange for keeping silent before the 2016 presidential election about alleged sexual encounters with Trump, which he has denied.
Avenatti released Daniels from the confidentiality agreement she had with Trump.
In 2019, however, he was legally prosecuted in New York in the Nike case and in California for stealing millions of dollars from five additional clients, destroying his career.
The California lawsuit is ongoing after a mistrial in August of last year.
Daniels stated that Avenatti “betrayed” her by secretly transferring funds to an account he controlled.
Avenatti attempted to undercut Daniels’ credibility during cross-examination by focusing on her interest in paranormal activities. Daniels, who produces the television show “Spooky Babes,” said she could communicate with the dead.