The Never-Trump attorney known for representing adult film actress Stormy Daniels was convicted of wire fraud and aggravated identity theft on Friday.
Avenatti was found guilty after having stolen two book-advance payments from Daniels worth $300,000. He faces 22 years in jail.
According to the New York Post, Daniels had landed a large book deal with St. Martin’s Press regarding an incident involving then-President Donald Trump, where the president allegedly gave Daniels “hush money” over an encounter she had with Trump years earlier.
Daniels said that the amount given was $130,000.
Michael Avenatti pic.twitter.com/ljgyMi6woU
— Jerry Dunleavy (@JerryDunleavy) February 4, 2022
Prosecutors were able to prove that the attorney had forged his client’s name onto a letter to her literary agent, directing him to send payments intended for Daniels into Avenatti’s account.
“I’m very disappointed in the jury’s verdict. I am looking forward to a full adjudication of all of the issues on appeal,” said Avenatti to reporters outside of the Lower Manhattan courthouse.
Daniels said that Avenatti promised to “never take a penny from me for the book.” According to Daniels, she had asked Avenatti about the missing cash via text message.
“I did not get paid today. I am not f–king happy… The publisher owes me a payment … This is bulls–t,” she wrote.
Avenatti said that he would attempt to “figure out” what happened, despite having already spent Daniels’ money.
Prosecutors said that Avenatti had a “mountain of evidence” pointing to his wrongdoing.
“The defendant was a lawyer who stole from his own client. She thought he was her advocate, but he betrayed her and he told lies to try to cover it all up,” prosecutor Robert Sobelman said.
“He stole from her. He lied to her over and over and over again,” Sobelman added of Avenatti. “All to steal and spend money that was not his. The defendant is guilty.”
Avenatti attempted to smear Daniels’ reputation by pointing to texts where she said that she could communicate with the dead, and showed texts where Daniels said that she couldn’t wait for him to go to prison to be sexually assaulted.
“I lost my way,” he said. “I betrayed my own values, friends, family, and myself.”
Avenatti was already previously convicted of trying to extort Nike for $25 million.
“I was driven by things that do not matter in life. Television and Twitter mean nothing,” he said.
“I and I alone have destroyed my career, my relationships and my life,” he concluded.