Prosecutors ask judge for ‘substantial sentence’ for Avenatti
Prosecutors in the case against Michael Avenatti, the former attorney for adult-film star Stormy Daniels, are requesting that he receive a “very substantial” prison sentence after being convicted of attempting to extort millions of dollars from Nike.
The request came in a Wednesday submission in Manhattan federal court, according to The Associated Press, with prosecutors noting that Probation Office officials had recommended an eight-year prison term for Avenatti.
The California attorney, who rose to fame for representing Daniels in her case against former President Trump, was found guilty in February 2020 of attempting to extort up to $25 million from Nike so the attorney would not speak out on allegations of corruption surrounding the athletics apparel company.
“The defendant, a prominent attorney and media personality with a large public following, betrayed his client and sought to enrich himself by weaponizing his public profile in an attempt to extort a publicly-traded company out of tens of millions of dollars,” prosecutors wrote in their Wednesday court request, according to the AP.
“This was an egregious abuse of trust, and it warrants real and serious punishment,” they added.
The AP also noted that prosecutors attached victim impact statements to their request, with Nike’s lawyers writing that Avenatti cost the company billions of dollars by falsely tweeting prior to his arrest that criminal activities at the company had reached the “highest levels.”
Avenatti’s lawyers said in a sentencing memorandum in Manhattan federal court last week that the embattled attorney should serve no more than six months in prison, citing his three months behind bars last year after his bail was revoked as well as public ridicule their client faced.
“Avenatti’s epic fall and public shaming has played out in front of the entire world,” his attorneys wrote. “The Court may take judicial notice of this fact, as Avenatti’s cataclysmic fall has been well-documented.”
“He is openly mocked by the former President of the United States and his preferred media outlets, to the glee of millions of the former President’s followers and supporters,” they added, also noting that Avenatti “cannot go anywhere in public without inducing and subjecting himself to vitriolic comments and abuse.”
“These circumstances alone would deter anyone in Avenatti’s shoes from engaging in similar conduct,” they said.
Avenatti was also charged in 2019 with defrauding Daniels of hundreds of thousands of dollars from her book deal, to which the lawyer pleaded not guilty.
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