Who is Michael Avenatti? Porn Actor Stormy Daniels' Lawyer Against Donald Trump Gets 14-Year Jail Sentence

Michael Avenatti, who had pleaded guilty to four counts of wire fraud and a tax-related charge, has been sentenced to 14 years in prison and ordered to pay $7 million in restitution for cheating four of his clients.

The incarcerated lawyer was accused of negotiating and collecting settlement payments on behalf of his clients and funnelling the money to accounts he controlled. Brett Sagel, the prosecutor, told the court that Avenatti's criminal conduct arose from calculated choices and egregious violations of the trust his clients placed in him.

Avenatti apologized to the four victims in the case, before sentencing. "I am deeply remorseful and contrite. There is no doubt that all of them deserve much better, and I hope that someday they will accept my apologies and find it in their heart to forgive me."

Michael Avenatti
Twitter

US Attorney Martin Estrada, in a statement, said Michael Avenatti was a corrupt lawyer who claimed he was fighting for the little guy. "In fact, he only cared about his selfish interests. He stole millions of dollars from his clients – all to finance his extravagant lifestyle that included a private jet and race cars. As a result of his illegal acts, he has lost his right to practice law in California, and now he will serve a richly deserved prison sentence."However, Dean Steward, Avenatti's attorney argued that the sentence was overly harsh and uncalled for. He said his client described it in court as being "off the charts".

Avenatti will serve the 14-year sentence after he completes a five-year prison term that he is currently serving after being convicted in two separate trials in New York.

Avenatti Defrauded a Client with Mental Health Problems

Santa Ana federal Judge James Selna said Avenatti has done great evil for which he must answer. As such, the 51-year-old has also been ordered to pay more than $10.8 million in restitution to four clients and to the Internal Revenue Service.

He collected a $4 million settlement from Los Angeles county for a man who suffered in-custody injuries and was left paraplegic after a suicide attempt. Avenatti never told the client that the money was received. Authorities said the lawyer, instead, used the funds to finance his coffee business and pay personal expenses. Avenatti gave the man, Geoffrey Johnson, smaller amounts ranging from $1,000 to $1,900 that he called advances on the broader settlement.

Johnson told the court the deception was about more than money. "I am not sure I ever can trust anyone else again. I continue to have nightmares that people are out to get me. My view of humanity has certainly changed, and not for the better."

Michael Avenatti
Twitter

Avenatti represented himself in court. He asked the court for a sentence of not more than six years saying that he helped reunite immigrant children separated from parents by the Trump administration and represented a rape victim while out on bail. The lawyer pointed out that a lengthy sentence at his age would not give him a meaningful chance to do right by his victims or to be a father to his children.

Rose to Prominence Via Stormy Daniels

Avenatti had represented Daniels, an adult film star, in her lawsuit to break a confidentiality agreement with Trump to stay mum about an affair she said they had. This case saw the lawyer become one of Trump's leading adversaries. Daniels sued Trump in 2018. Avenatti used to appear on cable news shows and chat shows. He also emerged in the presidential candidacy pool, dined with potential donors and formed a political action group to accept donations.

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