Michael Avenatti Has Been Convicted Of Defrauding Stormy Daniels Of Book Deal Money

The attorney who rose to fame by taking on former president Donald Trump faces up to 22 years in prison.

New York Daily News / TNS

Stormy Daniels is interviewed alongside her former lawyer Michael Avenatti in 2018.

High-profile attorney Michael Avenatti has been convicted of wire fraud and aggravated identity theft for stealing $300,000 from his former client, adult film star Stormy Daniels.

According to the Washington Post, prosecutors argued that Avenatti stole from Daniels' $800,000 book deal advance by forging her signature and then later avoiding her questions when she brought it up, which led her to believe the publishing company was skipping out on paying her.

Avenatti represented Daniels as she took on then-president Donald Trump in a fight to undo the nondisclosure agreement she had signed in 2016 to not talk about a sexual encounter she had had with Trump in 2008.

Michael Cohen, Trump’s former attorney, paid Daniels $130,000 for the nondisclosure agreement. He later pleaded guilty to campaign finance fraud for using money from Trump's 2016 presidential campaign to pay for it.

Avenatti argued on behalf of himself in court and said he was owed the money from the book advance, but according to the Washington Post, prosecutors showed WhatsApp messages between Avenatti and Daniels in which he told her he would get the publishing company to pay for the missing money.

Daniels hired Avenatti with a $100 retainer agreement, which included a clause saying the attorney was entitled to "any media or book-related profits Daniels made." But according to evidence in the trial, they never discussed or agreed on an amount and Daniels said that Avenatti never asked her about taking a cut.

Avenatti now faces up to 22 years in prison.