A judge handed down a 30-month prison sentence on Thursday to disgraced attorney Michael Avenatti for attempting to extort Nike for up to $25 million.
Avenatti’s punishment is less than the nine-to-eleven year range per federal guidelines and is likely to disappoint federal prosecutors, who sought a “substantial” sentence.
“Mr. Avenatti’s conduct was outrageous,” stated Judge Paul Gardephe said in U.S. District Court in Manhattan. “He hijacked his client’s claims, and he used him to further his own agenda, which was to extort Nike millions of dollars for himself. He outright betrayed his client,” the judge added. “Mr. Avenatti had become drunk on the power of his platform, or what he perceived the power of his platform to be.”
Avenatti broke into tears while addressing the court ahead of his sentencing, saying: “I am truly sorry for all of the pain I caused. I alone have destroyed my career, my relationships and my life. And there is no doubt I need to pay,” he admitted.
No argument there.
He also faces the start of a fraud trial next week in the Los Angeles area, a second California criminal trial later this year, and a separate trial next year in Manhattan, where he is charged with cheating porn star Stormy Daniels, whom he represented in lawsuits against former President Trump, out of hundreds of thousands of dollars.
So much for Avenatti’s presidential ambitions.