U.S. lawyer Avenatti to be sentenced for defrauding Stormy Daniels

NEW YORK, June 2 (Reuters) – Michael Avenatti, the brash California lawyer who clashed with then-President Donald Trump, is due to be sentenced on Thursday for defrauding his most notorious former client, porn actress Stormy Daniels.

A federal jury in Manhattan convicted Avenatti in February of wire fraud and aggravating identity after a two-week trial, agreeing that he misappropriated nearly $300,000 in book proceeds intended for Daniels. Read more

Prosecutors have recommended that Avenatti, 51, be sentenced to a “substantial” prison term but shorter than the roughly five or six years – including a mandatory two-year sentence for identity theft – recommended by the guidelines federal. nL2N2XJ18V]

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They said any sentence should be in addition to his 2.5-year sentence from his 2020 conviction for attempting to extort millions of dollars from Nike Inc (NKE.N).

Avenatti, who has represented himself, offered a three-year sentence in the Daniels case, with a consecutive year concurrent with his Nike sentence.

U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman is expected to rule on Avenatti’s sentence at 10 a.m. EDT (1400 GMT).

Avenatti became a household name through appearances on cable television while representing Daniels in lawsuits against Trump.

Daniels, whose first name is Stephanie Clifford, received $130,000 from former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen in exchange for her silence before the 2016 presidential election over the sex she says she had with Trump, which he denied.

Avenatti released Daniels from his nondisclosure agreement with Trump.

But his career collapsed in 2019 when he was criminally charged in New York in the Nike case, and in California for stealing millions of dollars from five other clients. The California case is ongoing following a mistrial last August.

Daniels testified that Avenatti “betrayed” her by diverting money to an account he controlled without telling her.

During cross-examination, Avenatti attempted to undermine Daniels’ credibility by focusing on his interest in paranormal activity. Daniels, who produces the “Spooky Babes” TV project, said she can speak with the dead. Read more

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Reporting by Luc Cohen in New York; edited by Jonathan Oatis

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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