Attorney Michael Avenatti was sentenced to four years in prison on Thursday after stealing nearly $300,000 from adult film star Stormy Daniels, The New York Times reports.
Avenatti represented Daniels, who was paid $130,000 in 2016 on former President Donald Trump’s behalf to stay quiet about an alleged affair they had years earlier.
In February, Avenatti was convicted of wire fraud and aggravated identity theft as part of a scheme to steal nearly $300,000 from Daniels.
Judge Jesse Furman on Thursday sentenced Avenatti to four years behind bars, saying that while he had “done good in the world” as an attorney, he committed “brazen and egregious” crimes and “breached the highest duty a lawyer owes” to a client.
Avenatti cites Trump:
Avenatti before the sentencing told the court that he did not represent Daniels for fame but because “no one else had the guts” to take on Trump, whom he called the “single biggest threat to American democracy.”
“I own the conduct for which I was convicted,” Avenatti told the court. “I disappointed scores of people and failed in a cataclysmic way.”
Avenatti represented himself in the trial. Prosecutors said he emailed a bogus letter to Daniels’ book agency after she got an $800,000 book deal, directing them to send payments to his own bank account.
Avenatti only gave Daniels about half the money he received.
“The defendant committed a serious crime,” prosecutors said. “He stole from a client — someone who put her trust in him and relied on him.”
Charges pile up:
Avenatti is also accused of stealing millions from clients in California and lying about his business in income, though the case resulted in a mistrial last year after a judge determined that prosecutors withheld financial evidence.
Avenatti was also convicted in Manhattan for trying to extort millions from Nike.
He is serving a 2.5-year sentence in that case.