More Prison Time for Michael Avenatti?
California lawyer Michael Avenatti was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison for attempted extortion and honest services wire fraud after he threatened sports apparel brand Nike.
“Your honor, I’ve learned that all the fame, notoriety, and money in the world is meaningless,” Avenatti said through tears to US District Judge Paul G. Gardephe this week. “TV and Twitter, your honor, mean nothing.”
While representing a youth basketball organizer whose league had recently been dropped from a Nike sponsorship, Avenatti made false claims about the company and accused its executives of bribing the families of NBA-bound athletes.
“[Avenatti] hijacked his client’s claims and he used those claims to further his own agenda, which was to extort millions of dollar from Nike for himself,” argues Gardephe.
Nike claims Avenatti did serious harm to the company’s reputation and the client – Gary Franklin Jr. – says his life has been “devastated.”
Prosecutors had asked for a 5-year sentence, but Avenatti’s lawyers said that public humiliation should be taken into account.
“Avenatti’s epic fall and public shaming has played out in front of the entire world,” they wrote. “The Court may take judicial notice of this fact, as Avenatti’s cataclysmic fall has been well-documented.”
Avenatti will soon face charges from another former client, Stormy Daniels, whom he represented during her lawsuits against former President Donald Trump. Daniels claims Avenatti cheated her out of hundreds of thousands of dollars in proceeds from a book deal.
Avenatti also faces charges from prosecutors in California and New York who say he cheated clients out of millions of dollars and failed to pay his taxes.
Speaking to Gardephe this week, Avenatti said he expects his three children to feel ashamed of him.
“Every father wants their children to be proud of them. I want mine to be ashamed. Because if they are ashamed, it means their moral compass is exactly where it should be.”