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Avenatti Will Spend Another 2 1/2 Years In Prison For Daniels Theft

California lawyer Michael Avenatti was sentenced Thursday to four years in prison for stealing book proceeds from Stormy Daniels, the porn actress who made him famous as he represented her in courtrooms and cable news programs during her legal battles with President Trump. U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman said the sentence means Avenatti will spend another 2 1/2 years in prison on top of the 2 1/2 years he is already serving after another fraud conviction, reports the Associated Press. The judge said Avenatti’s crime against Daniels was committed “out of desperation” when his law firm was struggling. He called Avenatti’s behavior “craven and egregious” and blamed it on “blind ambition.” He required Avenatti to pay $148,000 in restitution and forfeit the $297,000 he stole from Daniels.

Furman said he believed the sentence “will send a message to lawyers” that, if they go astray, they will lose their profession and their liberty. Aveatti delivered a lengthy statement before the sentencing, saying he had “disappointed scores of people and failed in a cataclysmic way.” He added, “I have destroyed my career, my relationships and my reputation and have done collateral damage to my family and my life here is serious doubt as to how or if I will ever recover any semblance of a normal life.” Avenatti, 51, said he chose to represent Daniels in 2018 because she was an underdog and no one else would. At a trial this year, Avenatti represented himself, cross-examining his former client for hours about their experiences in early 2018, when she signed a book deal that provided an $800,000 payout. Prosecutors said he illegally pocketed nearly $300,000 of her advance on “Full Disclosure,” published in fall 2018.


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