OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion
Convicted lawyer Michael Avenatti has made quite a few headlines lately, but not for the right reasons.
The disgraced Democrat, who previously represented adult film star Stormy Daniels in her failed lawsuit against Donald Trump, has finally been smacked with justice.
U.S. District Judge Paul Gardephe has denied a request from Avenatti for a new trial and ruled that prosecutors’ alleged improper conduct did not impact a jury that found Avenatti reportedly tried to extort $25 million from Nike Inc.
Avenatti, who was found guilty in February 2020, will more than likely be sentenced on Thursday or this week.
The Probation Office calculated that Avenatti, who gained a national profile while representing the adult-film actress Stormy Daniels in a lawsuit against former President Donald Trump, should spend 11 to 14 years in prison. Avenatti had asked the judge to give him no more than six months.
“U.S. District Judge Paul Gardephe rejected Avenatti’s claim that prosecutors failed to hand over evidence that could have helped him at trial, including notes about a witness – a former employee of Avenatti’s – indicating she had felt threatened by a tweet posted by someone who was not involved in the case. But the witness was ‘inconsequential’ because her testimony related to Avenatti’s financial distress rather than the crimes he was accused of, according to the ruling,” Bloomberg reported.
Gardephe held that “there was abundant evidence that Avenatti was in financial distress.”
“Gardephe also rejected Avenatti’s claim the evidence was insufficient to prove he had an ‘intent to defraud’ Nike, and the laws he was accused of violating were vague as applied to the case. Gardephe also denied Avenatti’s argument the court improperly excluded some text messages and emails the lawyer believed would have helped his case,” the report added.
Back in February 2020, U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said in a statement that Avenatti misused a client’s information “in an effort to extort tens of millions of dollars.”
He did so by threatening to hold a news conference in which he would make the claim that Nike was involved in a college basketball scandal.
Prosecutors have urged a judge to hand a “very substantial” prison term to Michael Avenatti, the disgraced lawyer who tried to extort millions of dollars out of sportswear giant Nike https://t.co/NwvbfhPPcp
— The Daily Beast (@thedailybeast) June 17, 2021
CNN put Michael Avenatti on air 254 times within one year so he could viciously attack President Trump!
CNN should be doing prison time with this reprobate! pic.twitter.com/7DuvBJ9HxT
— Daniel F. Baranowski (@DFBHarvard) June 29, 2021
In addition to the Nike case, the disgraced lawyer is facing other charges in California.
In 2019, prosecutors said Avenatti stole “a significant portion” of a payment advance that Stormy Daniels was supposed to receive from a book deal.
Avenatti allegedly sent a doctored letter with Daniels’ signature to her literary agent that instructed the agent to divert the money to an account controlled by Avenatti.
Avenatti allegedly spent $148,750 that he stole from Daniels “on airfare, hotels, car services, restaurants, and meal delivery, online retailers, payroll for his law firm and another business he owned, and insurance.”
While all of this was going on, he was accused of trying to extort Nike for millions.
Avenatti has also been accused of stealing money from five clients.
And, it’s important to remember that Avenatti made dozens upon dozens of appearances on CNN and MSNBC to promote himself and even teased that he was considering running for president.
Now he’s facing serious prison time.