California lawyer Michael Avenatti had to be transferred from a California prison to a New York detention center for his Thursday sentencing after a request to allow a remote sentencing by video was denied, his lawyer Robert Baum told Newsweek.
Avenatti was sentenced to prison on Thursday by Judge Jesse M. Furman at the Manhattan federal court for wire fraud and aggravated identity theft for cheating his former client, adult film star Stormy Daniels, out of $300,000, according to CNN.
The sentencing means that the celebrity lawyer will serve another two and a half years in prison on top of the two and a half years he is already serving for a separate fraud conviction for attempting to extort $25 million from Nike, CNN added.
Baum said that Avenatti had been held at the Metropolitan Detention Center in New York for the past 10 days ahead of his sentencing.
The California lawyer was transferred from FCI Terminal Island in California, where he was held in connection to the Nike case, and he is now expected to be transferred back to the California facility on Friday, according to his attorney.
Judge Furman said that Avenatti’s actions were “brazen and egregious,” according to CNN, and that he “took advantage of a vulnerable victim given her unorthodox career and somewhat unorthodox beliefs.”
Meanwhile, Baum told Newsweek that he is “gratified” that the judge listened to arguments defending Avenatti when handing down the sentence on Thursday. Prosecutors had recently argued that Avenatti should face “substantial” prison time in the Daniels case, according to Reuters.
Avenatti was also sentenced on Thursday to pay $148,750 to Daniels and $297,900 to the U.S., CNN reported. Judge Furman told Avenatti: “I hope you put your formidable talents to better use.”
“I have destroyed my career, my relationships and my reputation and have done collateral damage to my family and my life,” said Avenatti. “There is no doubt I made a series of mistakes and exercised poor judgment.”
The California lawyer had argued that he fought for the underdog, according to CNN, a statement that his lawyer Baum also reiterated to Newsweek, adding that Avenatti has worked for many years to serve the “underprivileged,” and therefore it’s “sad” for this to potentially be the end of his career.
The celebrity lawyer has a trial next month for charges alleging that he embezzled $10 million in settlement funds from at least five clients, CNN added. Avenatti is also facing charges of bankruptcy fraud and tax fraud to which he has pleaded not guilty.
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