US attorney Michael Avenatti, once known as a sworn enemy of Donald Trump, was sentenced to four years in prison on Thursday for stealing $300,000 from a porn actress who claimed to have had an affair more 15 years with the former president.
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Mr. Avenatti, a 51-year-old Californian, was already sentenced last July to two and a half years in prison for extortion of funds from the sports equipment supplier Nike. The two prison sentences should be partially confounded, the Manhattan federal prosecutor's office said.
“Lawyers must be loyal and defend their clients. Far from being it, Michael Avenatti stole the identity and the money of his client to line his pockets”, castigated the prosecutor Damian Williams, quoted in a press release, denouncing “shameless crimes and treason”.
This case extends from February 2018 to March 2019 when Donald Trump was in the White House.
Mr. Avenatti represents at the time a former porn actress, Stormy Daniels, who claims to have had a brief affair in 2006 with the man who was a New York businessman. Stephanie Clifford, her real name, then sued the 45th President of the United States to have a confidentiality agreement annulled forbidding her to talk about this adventure.
His defender Michael Avenatti appears as a left-wing defender of the Republican president, multiplying the interventions in the press and on social networks, until being suspected of wanting to compete for the White House.
But in March 2019, the lawyer with a shaved head was arrested for attempted extortion against the sports equipment supplier Nike, and for tax evasion.
According to justice, Mr. Avenatti had asked the leaders of the company to pay him millions of dollars so that he would not reveal compromising information on offenses allegedly committed by Nike by recruiting university basketball players.
He was convicted in February 2020 and sentenced to 30 months in prison in July 2021.
Fallen for the Nike file, Avenatti had not finished with the Stormy Daniels affair.
Last February, Manhattan federal court found that he deceived and defrauded Stephanie Clifford and her publisher by embezzling $300,000 of the $800,000 advance promised to the former porn actress, author of a book of revelations ("Full Disclosure") about her affair with Donald Trump.
The money, half of which the lawyer reimbursed, enabled Mr. Avenatti to travel and buy a leased Ferrari.