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Disgraced attorney Michael Avenatti was sentenced to four years in prison Thursday for cheating his former client, adult film star Stormy Daniels, out of $300,000.
Avenatti was convicted of aggravated identity fraud and wire fraud in New York federal court earlier this year. He faced a mandatory two years in prison for the former, and up to 20 for the latter.
Of the four years, 18 months will be served concurrently with the 2 1/2-year sentence he was previously given in a separate case for trying to extort Nike out of $25 million.
Avenatti spoke for 12 minutes at the sentencing, acknowledging the “series of mistakes” and “poor judgment” he exercised.
“I will forever be branded ‘disgraced lawyer’ and worse,” he said.
Ahead of sentencing, Avenatti had sent a letter apologizing to Daniels, but the judge said this gesture was “too little, too late.”
Avenatti did not want to appear in court for sentencing and had requested to be sentenced remotely. Judge Furman denied the request, ordering him to appear.
“In the Court’s view, the gravity and significance of the sentencing proceeding would be ill served by a remote proceeding,” Furman wrote.
Daniels took delight in the ruling, tweeting, “”See ya there, b—-!… except I’m flying in first class. Buwahaha.”
Avenatti rose to fame as the attorney for Daniels when she was trying to get out of an October 2016 agreement where she received $130,000 in exchange for her silence regarding her claim that she had an affair with former President Donald Trump in 2006. Trump has denied that the affair took place.
Avenatti was a ubiquitous presence on television during his legal battle against Trump. At one point during the height of his notoriety he fancied the idea of his own presidential bid.
Former attorney Michael Avenatti, representing himself, cross-examines witness Stormy Daniels during his criminal trial at the United States Courthouse in the Manhattan borough of New York City, U.S., January 27, 2022 in this courtroom sketch. (REUTERS/Jane Rosenberg)
Avenatti has an upcoming retrial in California federal court in a separate case in which he is accused of stealing nearly $10 million from five clients. A judge declared a mistrial in the first trial last August after prosecutors failed to turn over relevant financial evidence.
Fox News’ Paul Best and The Associated Press contributed to this report.