Attorney Michael Avenatti, a known adversary of former President Donald Trump, pleaded guilty to multiple charges. Already serving a five-year prison sentence in California, Avenatti’s jail term could extend to decades following his plea.
The 51-year-old lawyer pleaded guilty to four counts of wire fraud and one count of tax fraud on June 16. Collectively, the five charges he admitted to carry a maximum combined prison term of 83 years. Avenatti is defending himself against 31 other criminal charges, including lying to a bankruptcy court and defrauding a bank.
U.S. District Judge James Selna accepted Avenatti’s guilty plea, with the magistrate scheduling the lawyer’s sentencing hearing on Sept. 19, 2022. Meanwhile, Assistant U.S. Attorney Brett Sagel told Selna that prosecutors would hold an internal discussion on how to proceed with the remaining charges.
Avenatti, who has been disbarred in the Golden State, won the right to represent himself during the June 16 hearing at Santa Ana, California. Dean Steward, Avenatti’s advisory lawyer, said the disgraced attorney’s guilty plea was a strategic move to ensure “the energy everyone would put into a trial will be put into sentencing.”
In a court document, Avenatti wrote that he tried in vain to reach a plea deal with prosecutors.
“Despite repeated efforts over the last year by Mr. Avenatti and his counsel, including substantial efforts made in the last 30 days, defendant has been unable to reach a plea agreement with the government,” said the court filing. “Mr. Avenatti wishes to plea in order to be accountable; accept responsibility; avoid his former clients being further burdened; save the court and the government significant resources; and save his family further embarrassment.”
According to the document, Avenatti expects to get less than the maximum 83-year prison sentence – which also includes restitution payments to former clients amounting to more than $10 million. (Related: Porn lawyer Michael Avenatti indicted by Feds on multiple counts of fraud, could serve 300-plus years in prison.)
Avenatti in hot water for embezzling clients’ money
Avenatti first made headlines when he chose to represent pornographic actress Stormy Daniels in court. The X-rated film star accused Trump and the latter’s former lawyer Michael Cohen of harassing her – on the basis of a non-disclosure agreement – from divulging a purported affair she had with the former president. Of the three lawsuits filed by Daniels and Avenatti, they won the first and lost the second. The third lawsuit was settled in May 2019.
However, Avenatti soon found himself as a defendant after Daniels accused him of embezzling almost $300,000. He was subsequently found guilty of the accusations in February 2022 and sentenced to a five-year jail term.
Aside from embezzling Daniels’ money, the disgraced lawyer has also been convicted in 2020 for attempting to extort as much as $25 million from sportswear brand Nike.
Government prosecutors said during the June 16 hearing that Avenatti used money from cases to fund an opulent lifestyle instead of paying his clients what they were entitled to receive. Most of these cases took place between 2015 and 2019, they added.
One such case involved Avenatti collecting $4 million from the Los Angeles County as compensation for a man injured in custody. The lawyer denied receipt of any settlement amount and said that he paid his client what he called “advances” on a settlement that ranged from $1,000 to $1,900.
Another case cited by the prosecutors involved Avenatti collecting $2.75 million in a settlement and using most of the amount to buy a private plane.
Watch Tucker Carlson below asking if Americans have completely forgotten Michael Avenatti.
This video is from the NewsClips channel on Brighteon.com.
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Disgraced anti-Trump lawyer Michael Avenatti sentenced to 2.5 years in prison for Nike extortion.
Feds charge “sleazy porn star” lawyer Michael Avenatti with allegedly stealing from client Stormy Daniels.
Creepy porn lawyer Michael Avenatti sentenced to four years in prison after embezzling $300k from client.
BREAKING: Michael Avenatti, former attorney of Stormy Daniels who tried to destroy Trump, charged with extortion threats against Nike.