US attorney Michael Avenatti, who rose to fame representing porn actor Stormy Daniels during her legal battles with Donald Trump, has been sentenced to 14 years in prison.
Already in jail on separate convictions, Avenatti admitted to defrauding four of his clients out of millions of dollars.
He was also ordered to pay more than $10m (£8.2m) in restitution. The prison sentence will run consecutively for the five years he is currently serving for stealing the proceeds from the book from Daniels and trying to extort Nike to pay him up to $25m (£20.5m).
It is the last of the three major federal criminal cases that have concluded against the 51-year-old Californian, who has become one of the former president’s main opponents.
Avenatti pleaded guilty earlier this year to four counts of wire fraud and one tax charge. He was accused of negotiating and collecting severance payments on behalf of his clients and funneling the money to accounts he controlled and spending it on his lavish lifestyle, including a private jet.
Prosecutor Brett Sagel told the court in Santa Ana, Calif., “Despite the significant advantages this defendant had — a first-rate education, a thriving law career — he chose to commit the deplorable acts in this case over and many times.
“The defendant is just another criminal who thinks the law is something that applies to other people.”
His voice breaking, Avenatti apologized to his victims, including two who told the court about losing their money and their trust in someone they thought had turned their lives upside down.
In one incident, Avenatti has collected a $4m (£3.3m) settlement from Los Angeles County for a man who suffered injuries in custody and was left paraplegic after a suicide attempt, but Avenatti did not pay him never said money had been received.
Instead, authorities said Avenatti used the funds to finance his coffee business and pay for personal expenses, and gave the man smaller amounts ranging from $1,000 to $1,900 he called advances on the larger settlement. .
The man, Geoffrey Johnson, told the court: “I’m not sure I can ever trust anyone else again.”
Avenatti rose to prominence representing Daniels, who said she was paid to keep quiet about an extramarital affair with the former president Donald Trump.
Daniels had sued Mr. Trump in 2018 and sought to void a non-disclosure agreement about the alleged relationship.
Avenatti became a regular chat show host, often outspoken about Trump. Commentators even suggested at one point that Avenatti could run for president.