Attorney-turned-legal Michael Avenatti was convicted Friday of swiping nearly $300,000 in ebook-advance funds from his then-client Stormy Daniels.
The now-twice-convicted felon — and one-time increasing star — now faces a optimum of 22 many years in jail for his conviction on wire fraud and aggravated identity theft prices.
The jury begun deliberating Wednesday. He’s scheduled to be sentenced on May possibly 24.
Soon after the verdict, Avenatti built a transient assertion to reporters exterior of the courthouse in reduced Manhattan as rain poured down.
“I’m very let down in the jury’s verdict. I am seeking ahead to a full adjudication of all of the issues on attraction,” he mentioned.
His conviction marks one more black eye for the by now tarnished lawyer, who rose to nationwide fame during the Trump administration as a vocal foe of the president while he was symbolizing Daniels.
Avenatti was a darling of the remaining for the duration of his time as Daniels’ lawyer, who relished in sparring with former President Donald Trump and his supporters on social media and cable news.
He even floated jogging for president versus Trump in 2020, as he was reportedly dubbed “the savior of the republic.”
In the course of the demo, prosecutors painted Avenatti, 50, as a calculating thief who stole two reserve-progress payments from Daniels in 2018 that totaled practically $300,000.
The porn star, whose serious identify is Stephanie Clifford, inked a e book offer that calendar year with St. Martin’s Press right after it was unveiled she was paid $130,000 in hush dollars ahead of the 2016 presidential election to preserve silent about an alleged sexual come across she had with Donald Trump yrs before.
To pull off his plan, prosecutors showed, Avenatti solid Daniels’ title on a letter to her literary agent that directed him to wire two payments intended for the grownup entertainer into a bank account he managed.
Daniels was the government’s star witness at the trial and explained to jurors that she did not give Avenatti authorization to preserve the money owed to her by way of the e book contract.
“He stole from me and lied to me,” she mentioned on the witness stand.
Daniels extra that Avenatti had promised her he would “never acquire a penny from me for the book.”
Prosecutors showed jurors documents linked to the reserve offer, as nicely as a series of text messages among Avenatti and Daniels, which proved how he continuously lied to his customer about the funds.
When she didn’t obtain the payments on time, Daniels asked Avenatti about the missing income, in accordance to the textual content messages.
“I did not get compensated now. I am not f–king content,” she stated in a person of the messages about a month following she was because of to acquire her second payment in 2018.
“The publisher owes me a payment … This is bulls–t,” she wrote in another.
As an alternative of coming thoroughly clean about the theft, Avenatti informed her he would “figure out” what transpired — even however he had presently received and spent the cash.
In their closing argument, prosecutors pointed to a “mountain of evidence” from Avenatti, who they argued betrayed the have faith in of his consumer.
“The defendant was a attorney who stole from his have customer. She considered he was her advocate, but he betrayed her and he advised lies to consider to address it all up,” prosecutor Robert Sobelman said.
“He stole from her. He lied to her around and more than and in excess of again,” Sobelman included of Avenatti. “All to steal and expend income that was not his. The defendant is responsible.”
Avenatti, who represented himself at the demo, managed his innocence and prompt to the jury in his closing argument that Daniels owed him dollars due to the fact of the volume of perform he and his law business did on her behalf.
He also claimed prosecutors’ scenario versus him was whole of holes and likened it to a food that has a “cockroach in the middle of the plate.”
Through the trial, Avenatti attempted to undermine Daniels’ believability by quizzing her about a quantity of statements she made about him becoming sexually assaulted in jail and her belief in the paranormal.
“On Sept. 27, 2019 … You said that I was ‘f—ing myself pretty good and challenging and that when I go to prison, there will be a prolonged line of men and women to ass-rape me,’” Avenatti requested Daniels, who did not deny building the remark.
All through the exchange, Daniels verified that she beforehand designed statements about her means to talk with the useless and with a lifeless doll that she refers to as “Susan.”
“She’s not credible,” Avenatti informed jurors in his closing argument Wednesday.
In 2020, Avenatti was convicted in the similar federal courtroom of making an attempt to shake down sportswear big Nike for $25 million.
He was sentenced to 2 1/2 a long time in jail in that circumstance.
At his sentencing, he advised the judge he betrayed himself and his close friends while sparring with the former president and his supporters.
“I dropped my way,” he claimed. “I betrayed my have values, good friends, family and myself.”
“I was pushed by points that do not make a difference in everyday living. Tv and Twitter indicate absolutely nothing,” he additional.
“I and I by itself have destroyed my career, my interactions and my daily life,” he said.