(FreedomBeacon.com)- Michael Avenatti, an attorney who rose to fame quickly for his willingness to take on Donald Trump leading up to the 2016 presidential election, was ordered recently to pay one of his former clients restitution.
Avenatti was the high-profile lawyer of Stormy Daniels, the adult film star who successfully sued to have his client freed from a non-disclosure agreement with the former president over an alleged affair the two had years before.
But, while Avenatti gained much notoriety for his work on behalf of Daniels and other clients, he is now known as a criminal who was convicted of various crimes.
Back in February, a federal jury in Manhattan convicted the 51-year-old Avenatti of aggravated identity theft and wire fraud for embezzling almost $300,000 in proceeds from a book that Daniels wrote after she was freed from that non-disclosure agreement.
For that crime, Avenatti was sentenced to spend four years behind bars, with Jesse Furman, the U.S. District judge in the case, saying the lawyer’s conduct was “brazen and egregious.”
In addition to the jail time, Avenatti was forced to forfeit the full $297,500 he embezzled from Daniels.
Last Friday, he was ordered to pay an additional $148,750 in restitution to Daniels. The amount is lower than what he stole, due to the fact that Avenatti repaid some of the money that he stole from his one-time client.
The entire ordeal started when it came to light that Daniels had received $130,000 from Michael Cohen, Trump’s personal lawyer, before the 2016 presidential election. It was “hush money” that was meant to keep Daniels quiet while Trump was running for president.
Because she received that money, she didn’t go public with her claims of an affair she had with Trump, who has denied that it ever happened.
This is when Avenatti entered the picture. He worked to get Daniels released from the non-disclosure agreement, which allowed her to publish her memoirs, called “Full Disclosure,” in 2018.
Then, Avenatti apparently stole nearly $300,000 in the book proceeds from Daniels, who eventually found out about it and made it public. This time, what he did was a crime.
Avenatti is in plenty of other legal trouble, too. He was convicted back in 2020 of trying to extort Nike Inc. out of millions of dollars. He had already served 2.5 years behind bars for that crime when he was convicted in the Daniels case. He was also forced to pay restitution of nearly $260,000 in the Nike case.
Because the two sentences are allowed to run concurrently, he’s expected to serve a total of about five years in prison.
That could increase, though, come early November, when he’s scheduled to be sentenced in a separate case in California. That stems from a plea deal he reached back in June, in which he pleaded guilty to five federal charges out of California, which included wire fraud (four counts), all for defrauding some of his clients.