From Democratic media-endorsed potential Presidential candidate to four years in prison…there's no doubt the Michael Avenatti story has taken a full 180 since his days of "taking on" then-President Donald Trump.
Today Avenatti was sentenced to four years in prison for stealing nearly $300,000 from the porn star he once represented, Stormy Daniels.
Avenatti reportedly expressed remorse in the courtroom Thursday, but that didn't sway a federal judge, who sentenced him to 3 additional years to a prison sentence he has been serving since last summer, according to Courthouse News Service.
Avenatti said in court: “Because of my actions I will never practice law again. I will forever be branded a quote-unquote disgraced lawyer and worse. I have destroyed my career, my relationships and my reputation, and have done collateral damage to my family, and my life.”
He is already serving a two and a half year sentence for trying to extort Nike. The judge allowed him to serve 18 months concurrent with his sentence.
In February, he was convicted of wire fraud and identity theft for diverting Daniels' money that came from a book advance from a publisher. Avenatti argued that he had permission to take the money.
He said in court on Thursday: “Your honor, there is no doubt I made a series of mistakes and exercised poor judgment. I own the conduct for which I was convicted, am accountable for it, and deserve just punishment. I have brought embarrassment and ridicule upon myself, and innocent third parties including my family, my children, my friends and the legal profession. Some have forgiven me; Many, most, never will.”
“To be clear, I agreed to represent Ms. Daniels because no one else had the guts to take her case, and I believed we could take down a sitting U.S. president who was the single biggest threat to democracy in modern times. Nobody at the time, me included, could have predicted the success we would have and the notoriety that would follow, nobody.”
The government argued that he should face "substiantial" additional prison time for his wire fraud conviction. The government said that during his cross-examination of Daniels, he “berated his victim for lewd language and being a difficult client, questioned her invasively about marital and familial difficulties, and sought to cast her as crazy, much as he did during the course of his fraud to prevent her own agent and publisher from responding to her pleas for help.”
“The defendant certainly had every right to defend himself at trial. But he is not entitled to a benefit for showing remorse, having done so only when convenient and only after seeking to humiliate his victim at a public trial, and denigrating and insulting her for months to her agent and publisher while holding himself out as taking up her cause against the powerful who might have taken advantage of her,” the government continued.
A Federal defender representing Avenatti pleaded to the judge Thursday: “Surely if ever a man is to receive credit for the good he has done, and his immediate misconduct assessed in the context of his overall life hitherto, it should be at the moment of his sentencing, when his very future hangs in the balance. This elementary principle of weighing the good with the bad, which is basic to all the great religious, moral philosophies, and systems of justice, was plainly part of what Congress had in mind when it directed courts to consider, as a necessary sentencing factor, ‘the history and characteristics of the defendant.’”