Michael Avenatti Sobs, Breaks Down as Judge Jails Him for Extortion
Anti-Trump Democrat lawyer gets 30 months in prison for plot to extort Nike
Michael Avenatti, aka the "Creepy Porn Lawyer," broke down and sobbed in court as a judge sentenced him to 30 months in prison on Thursday.
Anti-Trump Avenatti's trademark swagger was visibly absent as he wept over his jail sentence for extorting sports clothing giant Nike.
"I alone have destroyed my career, my relationships, and my life,” 50-year-old Avenatti said as he cried uncontrollably before federal court Judge Paul Gardephe, according to CNBC.
"And there is no doubt I need to pay."
Judge Gardephe appeared to agree about the need to pay and dropped the gavel on 2 1/2 years behind bars for the sleazy lawyer.
Avenatti rose to media darling status by trashing then-President Donald Trump while representing porn star Stormy Daniels in her lawsuits against Trump.
After the cases made Avenatti a hero among Democrats and the liberal media, he ran for the Democratic presidential nomination for the 2020 election.
Eventually, his criminal corruption caught up with him, however.
In 2019, he took up the case of Gary Franklin, who ran a California youth basketball league formerly sponsored by Nike and who was at odds with the company, according to Courthouse News Service.
But Avenatti tried to cut a deal for himself, telling Nike that he would use what was then his star power to publicly humiliate the company if he did not get up to $25 million.
Instead, he was arrested.
“Mr. Avenatti had become drunk on the power of his platform, or what he perceived the power of his platform to be,” Gardephe said Thursday in sentencing Avenatti.
“Mr. Avenatti’s conduct was outrageous,” he said, adding that the lawyer “outright betrayed his client.”
“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.”
Avenatti was convicted last year.
Nike’s issued a terse statement: “The verdict and sentence speak for themselves.”
In his statement, Avenatti portrayed himself as an idealist gone astray.
“I dreamed about becoming a lawyer,” he said.
"About becoming a trial lawyer.
"About doing good, and about pursuing and achieving justice.
"For years I did just that, but then I lost my way.
"I betrayed my own values, my friends, my family, and myself.
"I betrayed my profession.
"I became driven by the things that don’t matter in life.
"Over the past two years, your honor, I have thought to myself, why did this need to happen,” he said.
"I’ve learned that all the fame, money notoriety in the world is meaningless.”
He said his children should be ashamed of him.
“Because if they’re ashamed, it means their moral compass is exactly what it should be.”
Avenatti is not yet out of the legal woods, however.
He still faces charges of defrauding his clients, including Daniels.
In pitching for a tougher sentence, Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Podolsky said Avenatti had a “profound lack of remorse” for his conduct.
“It’s about taking advantage of people and abuse of power and trust,” Podolsky said.
“He saw Mr. Franklin as a way to get rich, to get Mr. Avenatti rich.”