US lawyer Michael Avenatti, who rose to fame representing porn actor Stormy Daniels in his legal dispute with Donald Trump, has been sentenced to 14 years imprisonment.
Avenatti, who has already been in prison on separate convictions, admitted defrauding four of his clients out of millions of dollars.
He was also ordered to pay more than $10m (£8.2m) in damages. He is serving five consecutive years in prison for stealing Daniels’ book proceeds and attempting to blackmail Nike into paying him up to $25m (£20.5m).
It is the last of three major federal criminal cases against the 51-year-old Californian, who became one of the former president’s main adversaries.
Earlier this year, Avenatti pleaded guilty to four counts of wire fraud and one tax charge. He is accused of negotiating and collecting settlement payments on behalf of his clients, funneling the money into accounts he controlled, and using it for his own lavish lifestyle, including private jets.
Prosecutor Brett Sagel said in court in Santa Ana, California: “Despite this defendant’s clear advantages — a top-notch education, a thriving legal career — he has chosen time and time again to commit crimes in this case. deplorable behavior.
“The accused is just another criminal who thinks the law applies to other people.”
Avenatti hoarsely apologized to his victims, including two who told the court how losing the money and their trust in someone they believed had a broken back had changed their lives.
In one incident, Avenatti collected a $4m (£3.3m) settlement from Los Angeles County for a man who was injured in custody and became paraplegic after a suicide attempt, but Avenatti never told him about the money received.
Instead, authorities say Avenatti used the funds to fund his coffee business and pay for personal expenses, and gave the man small payments ranging from $1,000 to $1,900, which he described as advances to a broader settlement.
“I’m not sure I could trust anyone else,” the man, Geoffrey Johnson, told the court.
Avenatti rises to fame on behalf of Daniels, who claims she was paid hush money to keep quiet about affair with ex-president donald trump.
Daniels sued Trump in 2018 and tried to rescind a non-disclosure agreement over the affair.
Avenatti became a regular on the talk show, often outspoken about Mr. Trump. At one point, commentators even suggested that Avenatti might run for president.