Stormy Daniels' former lawyer gets prison sentence for trying to extort Nike
Michael Avenatti in May 2018. Photo from Wikimedia Commons.
The lawyer who once represented adult film actress Stormy Daniels will have to serve prison time for trying to extort millions of dollars from Nike.
U.S. District Judge Paul Gardephe of the Southern District of New York called lawyer Michael Avenatti’s misconduct “outrageous” and sentenced him Thursday to two and a half years in prison, report Law360, the Associated Press, CNBC and the Washington Post.
According to the Washington Post, Avenatti had made “a sobbing plea for mercy” in the New York courtroom before he received the sentence, which was well below the nine to 11 years that he faced under sentencing guidelines.
“Your honor, I’ve learned that all the fame, notoriety and money in the world is meaningless. TV and Twitter, your honor, mean nothing,” he said, according to AP’s account of his remarks.
Avenatti was convicted in February 2020 for seeking money from Nike in exchange for keeping quiet about alleged payments to young athletes.
He had represented Daniels, whose legal name is Stephanie Clifford, in her bid to invalidate her confidentiality agreement with former President Donald Trump, but he was later accused of stealing from her in a separate case that is still pending.
“Mr. Avenatti had become drunk on the power of his platform, or what he perceived the power of his platform to be. He had become someone who operated as if the laws and rules which apply to everyone else didn’t apply to him,” Gardephe said.
Gardephe said was giving Avenatti a break because the government failed to charge another lawyer who, along with Avenatti, played a “good cop, bad cop” routine on Nike, according to the Washington Post.