Michael Avenatti, the once high-profile attorney who represented Stormy Daniels in court, has been sentenced to four years in prison for defrauding her.
In February, Avenatti was found guilty for pocketing $300,000 from the adult film star's $800,000 book deal advance, having forged her signature and skirted questions when she brought up the missing money.
He was convicted of wire fraud and identity theft after representing himself in court.
Avenatti — who has been in prison for the past two and a half years for trying to extort Nike — will serve another two and a half years for this conviction, according to the Associated Press. In a Manhattan courtroom, he made an emotional statement, during which he acknowledged that he had “disappointed scores of people and failed in a cataclysmic way.”
Avenatti was catapulted to national fame in 2018, when he represented Daniels in her legal fight to revoke a nondisclosure agreement that prevented her from speaking about an alleged sexual encounter she had with Donald Trump years prior. Shortly before the 2016 election, Trump's lawyer, Michael Cohen, had arranged a $130,000 payment for Daniels to keep quiet about her experience with the then–presidential candidate.
The case fleetingly made him something of a #resistance celebrity; he was a near-constant fixture on cable news and even discussed his own presidential run. But soon he began facing legal issues of his own, including domestic violence accusations and multiple fraud cases.
In court on Thursday, Judge Jesse M. Furman said Avenatti was "quite smart and [had] formidable legal skills," but that his "healthy ambition" eventually turned into "blind ambition," CNN reported.
Last month, Avenatti wrote an apology letter to Daniels, which he shared with the court in advance of his sentencing. But the apology was "too little, too late," Furman said.
Furman called Avenatti's actions "brazen and egregious," and said he "took advantage of a vulnerable victim given her unorthodox career and somewhat unorthodox beliefs."
"I hope you put your formidable talents to better use," he told Avenatti.