Celebrity attorney and ex-Trump rival receives an additional 14 years in prison

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Disgraced attorney Michael Avenatti rose to popularity for defending adult actress Stormy Daniels in court disputes with former US president Donald Trump. At one point, Avenatti’s name was even floated as a potential candidate for the White House.

US attorney Michael Avenatti, who gained notoriety for defending porn star Stormy Daniels in her legal disputes with Donald Trump, was given a 14-year prison term.

Avenatti, who was already in jail after previous convictions, acknowledged defrauding four of his clients of millions of dollars.

He was also told to make compensation of over $10 million (£8.2 million). The prison term will follow the five years he is already serving for robbing Daniels of the proceeds from his book and for attempting to blackmail Nike into paying him up to $25 million (£20.5 million).

It is the third and final of three significant federal criminal charges against the 51-year-old Californian, who emerged as one of the former president’s most formidable foes.

Avenatti entered a guilty plea to four charges of wire fraud and a tax-related crime earlier this year. He was charged of representing his clients in settlement negotiations and payments, receiving the money through accounts he controlled, and then using it to fund his own extravagant lifestyle, which included the purchase of a private plane.

Despite the many advantages this defendant had, such as a top-notch education and a flourishing legal job, prosecutor Brett Sagel said in court in Santa Ana, California: “He decided to perform the despicable acts in this case again.

“The defendant is just another criminal who believes that the law only applies to others,” says the prosecutor.

Avenatti apologised to his victims in a voice-breaking manner, including two who testified in court about how losing the money and their faith in someone they believed had their backs completely upended their lives.

In one instance, Avenatti secured a $4 million (£3.3 million) settlement from Los Angeles County for a guy who was hurt while in jail and became paralysed after attempting suicide, but Avenatti never informed the man that the money had been paid.

Authorities claim that Avenatti provided the man smaller sums ranging from $1,000 to $1,900 that he referred to be advances on the larger settlement but instead used the money to fuel his coffee business and cover personal expenditures.

Geoffrey Johnson, the male, admitted to the court, “I am not sure I can ever trust anyone else again.”

Daniels, who alleged she was given hush money to keep quiet about an adulterous affair with former President Donald Trump, is the person Avenatti first gained notoriety for.

In 2018, Daniels sued Mr. Trump and sought to have a non-disclosure agreement on the alleged affair revoked.

Avenatti started appearing on chat shows frequently, frequently criticising Mr. Trump. At one point, some commentators even claimed that Avenatti would run for president.


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