News

Michael Avenatti: Four years in prison for the lawyer of Stormy Daniels, the porn actress who sued Donald Trump | International

Michael Avenatti (left) appears with a lawyer before the court in Manhattan for the reading of the ruling, this Thursday.
Michael Avenatti (left) appears with a lawyer before the court in Manhattan for the reading of the ruling, this Thursday.JANE ROSENBERG (REUTERS)

Michael Avenatti, the aggressive Californian lawyer who once put President Donald Trump on the ropes, was sentenced Thursday to four years in prison for deceiving his most famous client, porn actress Stormy Daniels. As defense attorney for Daniels, who said he was paid to keep his mouth shut about an alleged sexual relationship with Trump, he rose to the top in a process that monopolized the country’s political debate for months. Since 2019, when he was arrested, the lawyer has replaced his expensive tailored suits with the prison jumpsuit.

The ruling read this Thursday by Manhattan District Judge Jesse Furman marks the end of a highly mediatic career that already received a considerable setback in February when a federal jury convicted him of wire fraud and identity theft by impersonating Daniels before the editorial for which the woman wrote her memoirs. Prosecutors considered it proven that Avenatti, back in the day with the actress, had diverted nearly $300,000 from an $800,000 publishing advance. Avenatti came to forge the signature of his client and dragged her off, clearly underestimating her, ensuring that the project was delayed over and over again, while he spent his money.

Avenatti, 51, has already served part of a two-and-a-half-year sentence imposed after being found guilty in 2020 of trying to extort millions of dollars from the multinational Nike, for which, altogether, he faces five years in prison. . “I have destroyed my career, my relationships and my reputation,” he admitted to the judge before hearing the verdict. Avenatti represented himself and asked for a three-year sentence for the daniels caseconcurrent with a year at Nike.

The once powerful lawyer, whose fame skyrocketed during the trial against Trump, appeared in the Manhattan court in the prisoner’s uniform and blue sneakers, details the Reuters agency, which was able to access the room to read the ruling. . Judge Furman had turned down his request to wear a suit, like the ones made to measure that made him almost as much of a media character as Daniels. His appearances on cable television channels when he incited the actress against Trump also consecrated him as a shark, impetuous and aggressive and with an appreciable command of the headlines.

Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, received $130,000 from Trump’s attorney, Michel Cohen, in exchange for her silence about the sexual relationship she claims she had with the Republican before the 2016 presidential election, in which defeated Democrat Hillary Clinton. The episode was one of the most torturous in both the Republican’s career and that of the now-disgraced lawyer. Trump always denied having had a relationship with the actress. The meetings allegedly occurred in 2006 and were denounced by the adult film actress in 2018, in the midst of the Republican mandate. The lawsuit was dismissed and she was forced to pay the costs.

Avenatti released Daniels from her confidentiality agreement with Trump, which was somehow interpreted as another shock wave of the Me Too movement, in which women victims of abuse by powerful men broke their silence. But his career as a lawyer began to collapse in 2019 when he was criminally charged in New York for the nike case. At the same time, accusations of stealing millions of dollars from five other clients emerged in California. This last case is still open after a null trial last August. The noise that this sagacious lawyer had caused until then in the media, largely thanks to the passion with which celebrity trials are followed in the US – almost a television genre in itself – had kept him safe from scrutiny.

Join EL PAÍS to follow all the news and read without limits.

subscribe

Daniels, producer of a television program that claims to investigate paranormal phenomena around the world, testified in the case against her former lawyer that Avenatti “betrayed” her by diverting money from the editorial advance to an account in her name. Resorting once again to her aggressive methods, and by way of her defense, Avenatti attempted to cast doubt on the actress’s credibility and even her mental health, focusing on her interest in parapsychology. Statements in which the woman claimed to be able to talk to the dead were enough ammunition for an unscrupulous professional who, judging by the string of cases against her, always put her interests before those of the clients. she.

Subscribe here to the EL PAÍS América newsletter and receive all the key information on current affairs in the region.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button