Michael Avenatti, the bellicose adversary of former President Donald Trump as the lawyer for adult film star Stormy Daniels, was a regular on television news not long ago. He even contemplated running for president for a while.
Avenatti was sentenced to 30 months in jail by a federal judge in Manhattan for attempting to extort millions of dollars from Nike.
In a statement regarding the punishment, Manhattan U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss stated, “Michael Avenatti utilized unlawful and coercive threats and deceived one of his clients for the purpose of pursuing millions of dollars for himself.” “Avenatti not only tried to use his legal license and notoriety to extort money for himself, but he also deceived his own client. For his illegal behavior, Avenatti will now serve a significant amount of time in prison.”
Prosecutors said Avenatti deserved a harsh sentence because he “sought to profit himself by weaponizing his public persona in an attempt to extort tens of millions of dollars from a publicly listed corporation.”
“While the defendant sought to hide behind legal terminology and a coat and tie, the jury plainly recognized the defendant’s plan for what it was — an old-fashioned shakedown,” U.S. Attorney for the Southern District Geoffrey Berman said at the time of his conviction in a statement.
The sentence was increased from the six months requested by the defense, claiming that Avenatti had already suffered enough after being “openly ridiculed” by Trump.
After a two-week trial in New York City, Avenatti was found guilty by a federal jury in February 2020.
According to prosecutors, Avenatti sought to extort at least $15 million from Nike or he threatened to use his media clout to harm the company.
Daniels fired Avenatti as her counsel in early 2019 after praising the verdict last year.