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Michael Avenatti, the former lawyer for porn star Stormy Daniels, has reportedly decided to plead guilty in the remaining criminal cases against him.
Avenatti is charged with 36 counts of fraud, embezzlement, perjury, failure to pay taxes, and other financial-related crimes.
California attorney Michael Avenatti leaves a courthouse in New York following a hearing. Avenatti was arrested Tuesday by IRS agents for alleged violations of his pre-trial release. (AP Photo/Seth Weni)
In a filing before a federal judge in Southern California on Sunday, Avenatti said he wanted to change his plea guilty, setting in motion the end of his criminal litigation.
Avenatti was sentenced Thursday to four years in prison for stealing book proceeds from his former client, Stormy Daniels, the porn actress who catapulted him to fame as during her legal battles with then-President Trump.
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The California lawyer, currently incarcerated, learned his fate in Manhattan federal court, where Judge Jesse M. Furman said the sentence will mean that Avenatti will spend another 2 1/2 years in prison on top of the 2 1/2 years he is already serving after another fraud conviction.
His conviction for aggravated identity theft required a mandatory two-year prison sentence. He was also convicted of wire fraud. He’s already serving a 2 1/2-year sentence for trying to extort Nike. Avenatti was convicted in 2020 of threatening to ruin the shoemaker’s reputation if it did not pay him up to $25 million.
Michael Avenatti, the once high-profile California attorney who regularly taunted then-President Donald Trump, was introduced to prospective jurors who will decide whether he cheated porn star Stormy Daniels out of hundreds of thousands of dollars. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
Avenatti’s additional 36 counts of fraud could potentially have him serving many more years in prison.
“Despite repeated efforts over the last year by Mr. Avenatti and his counsel, including substantial efforts made in the last 30 days, defendant has been unable to reach a plea agreement with the government,” Avenatti’s lawyer said in the Sunday filing. “Mr. Avenatti wishes to plea in order to be accountable; avoid his former clients being further burdened; save the Court and the government significant resources; and save his family further embarrassment.”
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Avenatti has asked the court to schedule a hearing to formally submit his change on the plea. His trial was scheduled to start at the end of July.
Fox News’ Lee Ross and The Associated Press contributed to this report.