Disgraced lawyer Michael Avenatti has been convicted of wire fraud and aggravated identity theft for stealing $300,000 from porn star Stormy Daniels. It’s the second criminal conviction in two years for a man liberal pundits once believed would bring down the presidency of Donald Trump.
Avenatti was found guilty by a jury in Manhattan on Friday and will be sentenced in May. Representing himself, he had argued that Daniels owed him the money in exchange for legal representation in a case against Trump, but the jury sided with federal prosecutors who said Avenatti diverted the cash into his own account and then convinced Daniels that the money hadn’t arrived.
Avenatti took the cash sum from a larger advance for Daniels’ memoir, ‘Full Disclosure,’ which details her alleged affair with Trump.
Prior to his fall from grace, liberal pundits touted Avenatti as “Donald Trump’s worst nightmare,” and a “folk hero” whose legal action against Trump would “save the country.” After attempting to scupper the Supreme Court confirmation of Justice Brett Kavanaugh with unfounded allegations of sexual assault, Avenatti explored a run for the presidency himself in 2018, immediately before his life began to unravel.
Avenatti was arrested on suspicion of domestic violence in late 2018, and less than a year later was found guilty of attempting to extort sportswear company Nike. He has yet to begin serving his 30-month prison sentence for that conviction, and is also facing retrial in California for allegedly stealing almost $10 million from various clients.