Lawyer Michael Avenatti will serve 30 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release over extortion and fraud.
In 2019, the lawyer threatened to accuse apparel company Nike of corruption if they did not pay him $20 million. Judge Paul Gardephe said Avenatti exploited a client who was wronged by Nike and “used those claims to further his own agenda, which was to extort millions of dollars from Nike for himself.”
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“I betrayed my own values, my friends, my family and myself. I betrayed my profession. I became driven by the things that don’t matter in life. I’ve learned that all the fame, notoriety and money in the world is meaningless,” Avenatti told the court Thursday afternoon.
Avenatti’s name made national news when he represented adult film star Stormy Daniels in a lawsuit against former President Donald Trump. Next week, a fraud trial will begin in Los Angeles, accusing Avenatti of cheating Daniels out of hundreds of thousands of dollars. Numerous clients have come forward accusing Avenatti of fraudulent behavior while representing them as a lawyer.