NBC News reports that Attorney Michael Avenatti was just sentenced to 14 years in prison.
Avenatti is the man that mainstream news outlets embraced back when he publicly positioned himself in opposition to former President Donald Trump. The rise to fame came when Avenatti represented the adult film actress known as Stormy Daniels in multiple unsuccessful lawsuits against Trump.
Avenatti received tons of air-time from the mainstream media for his anti-Trump rhetoric. Some left-wing outlets even floated the idea of Avenatti making a presidential run, an idea to which Avenatti was receptive.
With all of this in mind, it has to be particularly painful for outlets such as NBC to report on just how far Avenatti has fallen.
It was back in June that Avenatti pled guilty to four counts of wire fraud and one count of trying to obstruct the administration of the Internal Revenue Code. Avenatti represented himself in the proceedings, and, at first, he had pled “not guilty” before changing his plea in June.
ABC News reports:
An indictment against Avenatti stated that he stole millions of dollars from clients after they received settlements in various cases. Those funds were supposed to only flow through Avenatti but stayed with him instead, according to prosecutors.
Among Avenatti’s victims, according to the outlet, was a paraplegic man named Geoffrey Johnson.
Authorities said that Avenatti told Johnson the money was not yet available and that he was “advancing” Johnson money to pay rent. Yet the entire time, according to prosecutors, Avenatti had the [man’s] $4 million [settlement] and was using it for personal and business expenses.
The other frauds committed by Avenatti were similar in nature. The obstruction charge was the result of Avenatti interfering with the IRS’s attempt to collect over $3 million in payroll taxes the he owed from his coffee business.
Avenatti was facing a maximum prison sentence of 83 years. Instead, he received 14 years, which is slightly less than what prosecutors were hoping for.
Additionally, Avenatti has been ordered to pay $7 million in restitution to his victims.
Following the sentencing, U.S. Attorney Martin Estrada summed the matter up in a statement.
Michael Avenatti was a corrupt lawyer who claimed he was fighting for the little guy. In fact, he only cared about his own selfish interests. He stole millions of dollars from his clients – all to finance his extravagant lifestyle that included a private jet and race cars.
“As a result of his illegal acts, he has lost his right to practice law in California, and now he will serve a richly deserved prison sentence,” Estrada concluded.