Updated Dec 5, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Michael Avenatti sentenced to 14 years in prison for stealing millions from clients

Michael Avenatti arrives at a federal court in Manhattan.

Michael Avenatti arrives at a federal court in Manhattan for a criminal case on Jan. 24 in New York City. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Incarcerated lawyer Michael Avenatti was sentenced Monday to 14 years in federal prison "for stealing millions of dollars from his clients" and committing tax fraud, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Central District of California said.

Driving the news: U.S. District Judge James V. Selna ordered Avenatti's prison term "run consecutive to sentences totaling five years previously imposed in two federal cases in the Southern District of New York," the attorney's office wrote.

  • The attorney's office said Avenatti blocked the "IRS’s efforts to collect more than $3 million in payroll taxes from an Avenatti-owned coffee busines."
  • Selna also ordered Avenatti to pay more than $10 million in restitution to four clients and to the IRS.
  • Selna said Avenatti "has done great evil for which he must answer."

The big picture: Avenatti was once considered a rising star within the Democratic Party and gained notoriety for his representation of adult film actor Stormy Daniels in her suit against former President Trump.

  • The disgraced lawyer earlier this year pleaded guilty to four counts of wire fraud and one count of endeavoring to obstruct the administration of the Internal Revenue Code.
  • He is separately serving two prison sentences from prior convictions for stealing nearly $300,000 from his Daniels, and from attempting to extort Nike out of more than $20 million.

Editor's note: This story has been updated with additional reporting and background.

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