Celebrity lawyer and Democrat media sweetheart Michael Avenatti was sentenced to an additional 14 years in prison for fraud and tax evasion crimes on Monday. Prior to the sentencing from these financial crimes, the suspended lawyer was already serving five years in prison.
The Department of Justice in California released a statement to say that Avenatti’s sentencing is punishment for stealing millions of dollars from his clients and for evading more than $3 million in payroll taxes for his coffee business.
BREAKING: Michael Avenatti sentenced to 14 years in prison for stealing millions of dollars from clients.
— Kambree (@KamVTV) December 5, 2022
According to the DOJ, Avenatti pleaded guilty to four counts of wire fraud and one count of endeavoring to obstruct the administration of the Internal Revenue Code. He admittedly stole millions of dollars from his clients by pocketing compensation owed to them. One of his victims was a paraplegic with mental health issues.
The man, Geoffrey Johnson, had sought Avenatti’s legal assistance to get a settlement from Los Angeles County after suffering injuries in custody that led to him becoming paraplegic.
Avenatti successfully collected $4 million from the county but never told Johnson about it. Instead, he funneled the money into his personal account and used it to finance his extravagant lifestyle as well as his coffee business.
To hide his fraudulent move and stop the poor man from investigating further, he gave the unsuspecting Johnson smaller amounts of money, maxed at $1,900. The payments, he said, were advances on the broader settlement, which he claimed were on a yet-to-be-paid status.
The 51-year-old rose to fame when he represented adult film actress Stormy Daniels in her legal battle against former President Donald Trump in 2018. His fiery approach to the case caused him to be viewed as the face of Democratic opposition to Trump.
He regularly appeared on chat shows to berate the former president, and at some point, there were speculations that he might be up for a White House run.
If that will ever happen, it will not be anytime soon, as Avenatti has been in prison since February and is currently serving time in two federal cases in the Southern District of New York. The terms are for robbing Daniels of book proceeds and for trying to extort Nike into paying him about $25 million.
In addition to his sentencing, the disgraced plaintiff’s lawyer will also be required to pay $10,810,709 to the IRS and four of his clients.
In an attempt to get a reduced sentence, Avenatti, who represented himself, asked the court to look beyond his crimes and consider the good he did as a lawyer. The US District Judge James V Selna, however, determined that the good the former lawyer has done doesn’t cancel the debt he owes his victims, the government, and the society.
Convinced by prosecutors’ arguments that Avenatti’s deplorable acts “arose from calculated choices and egregious violations of the trust,” Selna gave him eight years more than he hoped to get.