Michael Avenatti sentenced for stealing from Stormy Daniels, porn star he represented against Donald Trump

Disgraced attorney Michael Avenatti was sentenced to four years in jail for stealing book proceeds from his client, Stormy Daniels (Pictures: AP)

Disgraced attorney Michael Avenatti was sentenced to four years in prison for stealing book proceeds from Stormy Daniels, the porn star he represented during her legal battles against former President Donald Trump.

The California lawyer was sentenced to four years in a Manhattan federal courtroom on Thursday. Since he is currently incarcerated, he will spend another 2 1/2 years in prison in addition to the 2 1/2 years he is already serving for another fraud conviction.

Judge Jesse M Furman said Avenatti’s crime was ‘out of desperation’ at a time when his law firm was struggling. He said the sentence ‘will send a message to lawyers’ of the consequences if they go astray.

Avenatti was convicted of wire fraud and aggravated identity theft for stealing about $300,000 from Daniels that she was supposed to receive in connection with a book contract.

‘It has been three years since she discovered what Mr. Avenatti has done and she was devastated,’ Clark Brewster, Daniels’ current lawyer, said. Daniels was not present in court.

‘The regularly accepted theme was this guy was a great lawyer but … his legal scholarship based on the cases we took over is in doubt. This was a deceitful scheme. It wasn’t a mistake. It was calculated,’ he added.

In a sentencing memorandum prosecutors noted how Avenatti stole from his client while simultaneously presenting himself to the world as her champion and defender.

‘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. 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,’ prosecutors said.

Avenatti briefly wept as he told the judge he will forever be known as a ‘disgraced lawyer.’

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