The meteoric rise and dramatic fall of Michael Avenatti — staunch anti-Trump crusader and one-time lawyer for adult film star Stormy Daniels — turned a dramatic corner on Thursday when he was sentenced to two and a half years in prison for his role in an exortion scheme against Nike, as the Washington Examiner reports.
According to the federal indictment against the former left-wing media darling, Avenatti attempted to extort more than $22 million from the multinational athletic shoe, equipment and apparel behemoth, and after a three-week trial earlier this year, he was found guilty.
As the Associated Press noted, Avenatti gained fame — or infamy, depending on one’s perspective — for his public attacks on former President Donald Trump, his voluminous media appearances on liberal cable news networks, and even rumors of a possible run for the White House.
However, his downfall came fairly swiftly by way of a barrage of criminal charges, massive debts, and allegations of a wide range of professional misconduct toward his clients.
During the sentencing hearing, U.S District Judge Paul G. Gardephe labeled Avenatti’s behavior “outrageous” saying that the attorney “hijacked his client’s claims” and used them “to further his own agenda.”
Gardephe also opined that Avenatti “had become drunk on the power of his platform, or what he perceived the power of his platform to be. He had become someone who operated as if the laws and the rules that applied to everyone else didn’t apply to him.”
Worlds away from the bluster and arrogance that characterized his endless accusations against the former president, Avenatti dissolved into tears during the proceeding, often choking up as he attempted to convey profound remorse.
“I and I alone have destroyed my career, my relationships and my life,” the disgraced attorney explained. “Your honor, I’ve learned that all the fame, notoriety and money in the world is meaningless. TV and Twitter, your honor, mean nothing,” he added, noting that he fully expects and hopes that his three children are ashamed of his actions, as it would indicate that “their moral compass is exactly where it should be.”
Though he clearly believed that being among the most outrageous and outspoken critics of Donald Trump would pave the way to his own political stardom, Avenatti rode the wave of liberal flattery and his own absence of professional ethics all the way to prison where, as Donald Trump Jr. joked on Thursday, he “might just get to share a cell with [former Trump attorney and family adversary] Michael Cohen!”