Ex-Trump foe Michael Avenatti sentenced to 14 years in prison for defrauding clients

US federal judge says lawyer 'has done great evil for which he must answer'

Michael Avenatti has also been ordered to pay nearly $11 million in restitution to four clients as well as the IRS. Reuters
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Former celebrity lawyer and Donald Trump antagonist Michael Avenatti on Monday was sentenced to 14 years in prison for stealing millions of dollars from his clients — far more time than he received following two previous criminal convictions.

A judge in federal court in Santa Ana, California, also ordered Avenatti to pay nearly $11 million in restitution to four clients as well as the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the Justice Department said in a statement.

The list of victims in Avenatti’s final criminal case to go to trial included a paraplegic with mental health problems.

The lawyer also obstructed the IRS’s efforts to collect more than $3 million in payroll taxes from a coffee business he owned.

Avenatti “has done great evil for which he must answer”, US District Judge James Selna said, according to the Justice Department statement.

He ordered the former lawyer to serve the sentence consecutively with his previous prison terms, meaning Avenatti could spend nearly 20 years in prison.

The lawyer, who shot to fame when he represented adult film star Stormy Daniels, was sentenced in June to four years behind bars for stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from her by intercepting payments from a publisher for her book deal.

The California case also involved the lawyer stealing money that belonged to his clients.

And in 2020, a jury found Avenatti guilty of trying to extort $25 million from Nike during settlement talks on behalf of another client. He was sentenced in July 2021 to a two and a half-year prison term in that case.

Updated: December 05, 2022, 10:47 PM
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