Michael Avenatti sobbed as he was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison

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We were so desperate during the Trump years. Desperate enough to believe a p0rn star’s con-man lawyer was the answer. He was not. Michael Avenatti gained fame in the early Trump years because he was Stormy Daniels’ lawyer. He was so anti-Trump that we wanted to believe in him and we thought supporting him meant we were supporting Stormy. Stormy ended up firing him when she saw what he really was, and he went down in flames over the course of 2018 and 2019. He was arrested multiple times for multiple crimes. Somehow, the most serious crime ended up being Avenatti’s attempt to extort Nike for $20 million. Nike put the hammer down and now Avenatti is going to prison.

A federal judge on Thursday sentenced attorney Michael Avenatti to 2 1/2 years behind bars for an extortion plot against Nike that the lawyer himself said should make his children “ashamed” of their dad. The ruling by U.S. District Judge Paul G. Gardephe in New York marked another crushing blow for the 50-year-old Avenatti who was once one of the most familiar faces on cable TV news, as representative of former porn star Stormy Daniels.

Speaking through sobs, Avenatti said he was truly sorry for all the pain he has caused and that he betrayed his values, his profession and his family.

“I will never have the privilege of practicing law again, I am deeply humbled before you today. I have destroyed my career, my relationships and my life,” he told the court. “Every father wants their children to be proud of them. I want mine to be ashamed. Because if they are ashamed, it means their moral compass is exactly where it should be.”

While Judge Gardephe said Avenatti had no previous criminal record, the lawyer’s conduct in this case was “outrageous.” He “hijacked his client’s claims, and he used those claims to further his own agenda, which was to extort millions of dollars from Nike for himself,” Gardephe said.

“Michael Avenatti used illegal and extortionate threats and betrayed one of his clients for the purpose of seeking to obtain millions of dollars for himself,” U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said. “Not only did Avenatti attempt to weaponize his law license and celebrity to seek to extort payments for himself, he also defrauded his own client. Avenatti will now serve substantial time in prison for his criminal conduct.”

[From NBC News]

I do have to wonder if there aren’t more than a few con-man lawyers quaking in their boots this week. It’s become more and more of a thing, charging the lawyers and sending the lawyers to prison. Michael Cohen, Michael Avenatti, and maybe Rudy Giuliani next? Anyway, send all of these a–holes to jail. They’re all of the same kind of mold, like they think they’re mobbed-up loudmouths who can shout down reasonable people. Enjoy prison, a–holes.

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27 Responses to “Michael Avenatti sobbed as he was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison”

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  1. EnormousCoat says:

    An important lesson for me is that a person isn’t automatically good/noble when they oppose someone bad. I frequently have to remind myself of this (along with: a person isn’t automatically good/noble because they do something good/noble).
    But these prosecutions help to restore the public trust in our systems and institutions, something that is sorely needed right now. Onward.

    • Tanguerita says:

      the classical “the foe of your enemy isn’t (automatically) your friend”. Many of us had forgotten it in the last few years. This is also the reason why I’ve never trusted the Lincoln project guys. Grifters come in all shapes and sizes.

    • Darla says:

      I can’t help feeling sorry for him even though I know I shouldn’t. When he first came on scene, I did like him and think he was for real. It became apparent at one point fairly soon though, that he had serious issues. He was very enamored of fame and the camera. Like to a sick degree. And obviously had very shady business practices but I didn’t find that out until later.

      And there was a huge void during the trump years of people willing to stand up to him. Men who fell to their knees, one after the other. (I think way more women stood up to him) It was disgusting and why I always say Lizzo poised the great question of the trump years; why men great till they gotta be great?

      • EnormousCoat says:

        Yes, we saw the entire GOP cave to him and maybe that’s because while he was crude, he was delivering their vision. I think about the role Speaker Pelosi filled stateside and Chancellor Merkel across Europe. They really became, imo, the faces of democracy and democratic values. I will be sad when Merkel steps down because she held Europe together when the U.S. could not be counted on as an ally or partner whatsoever. There are others, of course, but on that stage at that time, I will prevent be grateful to those women.

      • Darla says:

        Yes, I agree, women fought, and those two in particular are spectacular. I think they will be in history among the strongest defenders of democracy. I would literally thank god for Pelosi every single day during those four years.

      • North of Boston says:

        RE Pelosi – I’m still side eyeing the group of male House Reps who were campaigning for her to be voted out of the Speaker’s role or for her to step aside because it was time to let a new generation take charge. It reeked of agism and sexism and opportunism, that they wanted an skilled experienced well-respected, well-networked woman to take a seat because … she was too experienced? Too old, in their opinion? But really because they wanted to move up in rank? She’s not perfect, but she was the right person for the job.

        I’m so glad that effort failed, because I can’t imagine anyone else leading the US House of Representatives and holding the line for democracy as skillfully as she did during the Trump years. Rep Seth Moulton, one of big backers of the “take a seat Nancy” nonsense is the rep for my area, and I didn’t vote for him in the last election entirely because of that (there were some good alternatives on the primary ballot) because it was clear that for him, personal ambition and his biases trumped governing based on what was good for the people of my state and the country .

  2. EnormousCoat says:

    @Darla Amen.

  3. Aang says:

    I think prison for any nonviolent crime is a waste of money. Supervised home arrest (electronic monitoring) that allows people to continue to work coupled with community service and therapy is the way to go for all but the most dangerous criminals. And until Trump and his complicit children are in jail I will consider the criminal justice system incompetent.

    • Darla says:

      Great point, and I agree. And that definitely includes drug charges! No violence, no jail. What an improvement that would be for justice. Jail is truly a horrific place and only those who pose a physical danger to others should be confined there. Rapists, murderers, child abusers, violent assault…

    • Keats says:

      If imprisoning wealthy financial criminals actually meant separating them from their creature comforts I think I would disagree with you more. If anyone (important) in the Trump orbit does time (truly a massive if, esp with this milquetoast DOJ), I’m sure it’ll be either house arrest or country club adjacent.

    • LaraW” says:

      I disagree. There is SO MUCH white collar criminals get away with; true, it may not physically harm a specific person, but the systemic damage it wreaks on society as a whole is incalculable.

      For example, I honesty think that some of the C-Suite executives of the large banks should have gone to prison for the untenable methods they created to monetize housing debt. People lost their homes because of that crash. There’s a reason why it’s called the Great Recession. And ultimately, who benefitted when we came out of the other side? It just increased the income gap.

      The Dodd-Frank Act was passed to curb the worst excesses, the CFPB was created to oversee bank lending practices, but both have slowly been defanged. The Supreme Court ruled to curb some of the biggest methods of enforcement the FTC and SEC have to punish corporations for wrongdoing.

      It’s fundamentally unfair that people who create such harmful, impersonal, corporate policies that have far reaching consequences for all of society are not forced to face harsher penalties. Google executives should face jail time to the amount of data they collect, retain, sell, and manipulate. Facebook also.

      • Darla says:

        Once convicted, we should take all their money and give it to social programs in whichever state they committed their crimes in.

      • LaraW” says:

        But that’s the issue— the damage isn’t limited to the states. Facebook’s algorithms have been a driving force in this echo-chamber culture that’s been created, essentially radicalizing individuals simply by putting on their news feed more and more content that skews perceptions and, I would argue, led to January 6. This incredibly deep damage to society and the way it has increased hate crimes, violence, should be something that C-suiters should go to prison for, instead of being allowed to make excuses about “we didn’t know” and “but algorithms!”

        Google is fast establishing itself as a monopoly, trying to replace yelp with google reviews, pushing certain definitions of words onto people, now with their new initiative to provide “homework help” regarding science problems. Wikipedia articles are reviewed, you have to cite to thing, they’ve established standards of practice and are transparent. There is no transparency with google. And google owns youtube, and has recently faced allegations that they suppress the content of black people while promoting the content of white people.

        Facilitating the entrenchment of systemic racism should be a crime punishable by prison. For one thing, it would make these financial, technology, insurance companies think twice about their policies and force them to sit down and THINK about downstream consequences. When most people get their information from one search engine known to manipulate its algorithms according to the company’s agenda, is that really a basis for a stable democracy?

        I am ranting. I acknowledge this. Don’t even get me started on Amazon.

    • Guest says:

      I think the US criminal justice system uses prisoners as free or nearly free labor. I was surprised to learn the other day that the DMV phone line is full of prisoners providing help line services.

  4. Marietta says:

    I jumped on his bandwagon very quickly. It was bad times and we were looking for a hero. ):

    • Darla says:

      Yes. I learned yet again that when you are looking for a hero, you never look to men. At my age you would think I wouldn’t have to learn that again. But that old conditioning runs deep. You have to look to women. It’s just how it is. I wish I was physically attracted to women, not to men, but that’s not how it is for me. The older i get the more I believe the fact that straight women exist is all the proof you need that orientation is not a choice. We’re just born this way.

  5. girl_ninja says:

    I never believed in him or bought into his schtick. He was all style no substance and when he did an interview about becoming President I knew he thought his sh*t didn’t stink.

    • Hyperbolme says:

      Same! I was so suspicious of him. He struck me as super Trumpy himself. Just because he was anti-Trump didn’t mean he couldn’t embody all the same narcissistic charlatan characteristics.

  6. Stella says:

    Good! He deserves longer but hopefully his case next year with Stormy Daniels solves for that.
    Speaking of, does anyone have the tea on her post on Instagram a week or so ago? She was talking about a guy and he’s married and the wife threatened to sue SD if he divorces her. That was a head turner!! I tagged Celebitchy in the comments of it hoping they could get the scoop.

  7. lucy2 says:

    He got slightly less time than Allison Mack, human trafficker. Our legal system is f’ed up.

  8. AmyB says:

    Very good points: We WERE so desperate during the Trump years, that anyone who was willing to take him on in any sort of capacity – we were willing to cheer them on! I was one of them (with Avenatti in the beginning). Yet, as more was revealed about him, Stormy Daniels’ firing him, and his sheer greed and fame became SO apparent, I quickly realized what a scumbag he was. He is much more polished and shiny, than another boorish, unintelligent Orange Cheeto we all know, but still. They are cut from the same cloth. Manipulating the system for their own personal financial gain, at the expense of others (AND against the fucking law!) Period.

    I am holding on to prayer that one day finally, we will see some type of similar justice for the disgusting Trump family and all their crimes against humanity. They screwed us in the last four years in the WH, and as we are seeing in NY, the Trump Organization screwed the IRS out of not paying their proper taxes for some 15 years!! Bring it!

  9. Golly Gee says:

    I would love to see Trump* become Avenatti‘s future cellmate. Pillow fight!
    (* sadly, I don’t believe Trump will get any jail time.)

  10. KNy says:

    A few years ago I never would have believed that Michael Avenatti would be going to jail and I would be listening to Michael Cohen’s podcast on the regular.

  11. Rise & Shine says:

    As much as everything is far better now than it was during the Trumpian hell years, don’t get blasé please? Everyone around them is going down, but Trump Kushners are skating free as of yet. Sickening. Ivanka and Jared just acquired another 23 million dollar property in the Miami area. Doing all we can, and hoping for the law, justice, karma, some kind of fairness in the universe to prevail. But to let our guard down, thinking this is over would be foolish. Time soon to start making sure all can all vote fairly and start working on mid-terms, and getting out the vote. Let’s not be lackadaisical now, that could be a vast mistake on our part. Love to all here and thanks CB and Kaiser as always.

  12. jferber says:

    I wish Trump could go in his place. We actually KNOW the former guy has done far more reprehensible things than extorting Nike, which in this post-everything world, doesn’t even seem that bad.

  13. M says:

    To think that when he fist broke on the scene so many were taken with him he could easily have monetized his looks. Modelling,reality TV, youtube, porn if he was so inclined(!) none of which would equate in prestige to practising law but none of those would have landed him in jail. By now he would be a hero championing worthy causes and have a decent shot at a political career with all the goodwill he built defending Stormy. Wouldn’t it just have been easier to do right by her? Hence the sobbing I guess? Plus that kind of pretty in prison might be a liability.