When porn actress Stormy Daniels sued Donald Trump, she let Michael Avenatti represent her. The defense attorney is successful - but at the same time embezzles hundreds of thousands of euros to which his client is entitled. Now the court is pronouncing the sentence against the less than loyal star lawyer.
Controversial US attorney Michael Avenatti has been sentenced to four years in prison for cheating on his former client, porn actress Stormy Daniels. "Lawyers have to be loyal and defend their clients," prosecutor Damian Williams said. But Avenatti stole his client's identity and money - a "shameless crime and treason".
A New York federal court found the 51-year-old guilty in February of cheating the porn actress out of $300,000, which she was supposed to receive for a book about her alleged affair with ex-President Donald Trump. The penalty has now been set. Avenatti, who represented himself in the trial, had denied the allegations and argued he was entitled to the money.
The lawyer tricked literary agents into transferring $300,000 out of a total advance of $800,000 on Daniel's book into a bank account he controlled without their knowledge, according to prosecutors. He spent the money on plane tickets, restaurant visits and leasing a Ferrari, among other things. He later paid back around half of the sum.
As Daniels' attorney, Avenatti had become known beyond the borders of the United States. The actress, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, claims to have had sex with the married Trump in 2006. Shortly before the 2016 presidential election, she received $130,000 as part of a non-disclosure agreement. She later wanted to have this agreement declared void by a court, and Avenatti represented her in the case. The legal dispute with the president has meanwhile degenerated into a public mud fight.
The media-savvy lawyer with the striking bald head became a real star as a Trump critic, and in the meantime he was even said to have ambitions for a presidential candidacy. He also worked as a victims' attorney in the case surrounding the abuse allegations against R
In 2019, however, there were allegations of an attempted extortion against the sporting goods manufacturer Nike, for which Avenatti was later sentenced to two and a half years in prison. According to the public prosecutor's office, the two prison sentences should be partly offset against each other.