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Avenatti is sentenced to four years in prison for cheating on Stormy Daniels

NEW YORK – Michael Avenatti was sentenced on Thursday to four years in prison for cheating on his client Stormy Daniels, the porn actor who catapulted him to fame, of hundreds of thousands of dollars in book revenue.

The California attorney, currently incarcerated, learned of his fate in Manhattan federal court, where Judge Jesse M. Furman said the sentence would mean Avenatti would spend another 2 and a half years in prison in addition to the 2 and a half years he has already served. serving after another conviction for fraud.

The judge said Avenatti’s crime against Daniels was “out of desperation” when his law firm was fighting. He called Avenatti’s behavior “nail-biting and blatant” and blamed it on “blind ambition”.

Before announcing the sentence, Avenatti, who was wearing his prison uniform, choked on several statements during a lengthy statement, saying that he “disappointed dozens of people and failed in a cataclysmic manner.”

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At trial earlier this year, Avenatti represented himself, questioning his former client for hours about his experiences in early 2018, when he signed a book contract that provided a $ 800,000 payment. Prosecutors said he illegally pocketed about $ 300,000 of his advance on “Full Disclosure,” released in the fall of 2018.

The publication of the book came at a time when Avenatti’s legal practice was failing financially even though he regularly appeared on cable television news channels. In appearances, he attacked then-President Donald Trump while representing Daniels in lawsuits aimed at releasing a $ 130,000 silent payment he received shortly before the 2016 presidential election to remain silent on a date he said he had with Trump a decade earlier. Trump denied it.

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Daniels was not in court. A lawyer spoke on his behalf, saying it was “truly shocking” that Avenatti tried to present himself as a champion of his clients during his statement.

His conviction for aggravated identity theft required a mandatory sentence of two years in prison. He is already serving a 2-and-a-half-year sentence for attempting to extort Nike. Avenatti was convicted of threatening to ruin the shoemaker’s reputation by failing to pay him up to $ 25 million.

And he is facing a new lawsuit in California on charges of defrauding clients and others for millions of dollars there.

In a presentation, Avenatti’s lawyers quoted a letter of apology that Avenatti recently wrote to Daniels in which he said, “I’m so sorry.”

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But prosecutors in a sentencing hearing last week urged that he should face “substantial” additional time in prison for a telephone fraud conviction and criticized his apology letter, saying the 51-year-old man did not apologize for his real crime.

And they recalled that during an “extremely long” interrogation, he reprimanded his victim for lewd language and for being a difficult client, questioned her invasively about marital and family difficulties, and sought to drive her as mad as he did during the course of his fraud to prevent your own agent and publisher from responding to your requests for help.

“The defendant had every right to defend himself at trial. But he is not entitled to a benefit for showing remorse, as he did so only when it was convenient and only after trying to humiliate his victim in a public trial, and denigrating and insulting her during For months, she has been suing her agent and publisher for defending her case against the powerful, “she said.”

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Avenatti is sentenced to four years in prison for cheating on Stormy Daniels

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