Avenatti still faces a load of tax and bank charges in California. That trial should begin next week in a CA federal court.
Michael Avenatti, the disgraced foe of former President Donald Trump, sobbed as Judge Paul Gardephe sentenced him to 2.5 years in prison for trying to extort millions from Nike.
A grand jury indicted Avenatti in March 2019 for trying to “extract more than $20M in payments” from Nike “by threatening to use his ability to garner publicity to inflict substantial financial & reputational harm on the company if his demands were not met.”
A jury found Avenatti guilty in February 2020.
(You can read our previous coverage of the Avenatti-Nike case HERE.)
Federal guidelines suggest up to nine years in prison. Prosecutors asked for a “very substantial sentence.” Avenatti’s lawyers asked for only six months.
“Mr. Avenatti’s conduct was outrageous,” said Judge Paul Gardephe said in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, where he also sentenced Avenatti to three years of supervised release.
’He hijacked his client’s claims, and he used him to further his own agenda, which was to extort Nike millions of dollars for himself.”
“He outright betrayed his client,” Gardephe said.
“Mr. Avenatti had become drunk on the power of his platform, or what he perceived the power of his platform to be.”
But Gardephe added that Avenatti deserved a lighter sentence than what was recommended by federal because, the judge said, “Mr. Avenatti has expressed what I believe to be severe remorse today.”
The judge also cited the brutal conditions in which he was kept for several months in a Manhattan federal prison after his 2019 arrest.
Gardephe also sharply noted, in justifying the lower-than-recommended sentence, how federal prosecutors had not criminally charged high-powered attorney Mark Geragos, whom prosecutors have said participated with Avenatti in the shakedown.
Then Avenatti cried:
Avenatti, who started crying during a statement to the judge before he was sentenced, said, “I am truly sorry for all of the pain I caused to Mr. Franklin and others.”
That was in reference to Avenatti’s amateur basketball coach-client Gary Franklin, who he exploited in his audacious bid to get paid directly from Nike in his shakedown plot.
“I alone have destroyed my career, my relationships and my life. And there is no doubt I need to pay,” the 50-year-old Avenatti told Gardephe.
At one point, Avenatti broke down and took several moments to compose himself as he spoke about the effects of his conduct on his three children.
Avenatti shot to fame when he represented Stormy Daniels when she accused Trump of paying her off to stay silent about their alleged affair.DONATE
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