Avenatti Wants Jail Term Limited to Six Months in Nike Case


Convicted lawyer Michael Avenatti told a New York judge he should be sentenced to no more than six months behind bars for trying to extort $25 million from Nike Inc., arguing he’d already been severely punished through unjustified stints in solitary confinement before his trial.

Avenatti, who gained a national profile while representing the adult-film actress Stormy Daniels in a lawsuit against former President Donald Trump, said in a June 9 sentencing submission that he should get credit for spending nearly five weeks alone in a cell under “inhumane” conditions.

“The government has never adequately explained why Avenatti, a 48-year-old American attorney with no history of crime or violence and who had yet to be convicted of anything, was held in solitary confinement for 24 hours a day in the highest security pre-trial unit in the United States,” defense attorney Scott Srebnick said in the filing in federal court in Manhattan.

A New York jury last year found Avenatti guilty of trying to extort Nike during settlement negotiations between the Oregon-based sportswear giant and one of his clients. Avenatti has long claimed he was targeted by the Trump administration because of his high-profile clash with the president, but he didn’t seek leniency in the filing based on that argument.

The convicted lawyer proposed a year of home confinement in addition to the half-year prison term. Federal prosecutors in New York are due to make their recommendation by June 16. The sentencing hearing is set for June 30.

The Probation Office calculated that Avenatti should spend 11 to 14 years in prison. Judges determine the final sentence and aren’t bound by the guidelines.

Avenatti’s legal woes are from over. He’s due to go on trial again next month in California on federal charges accusing him of defrauding clients and ripping off banks. And early next year a third trial is scheduled -- back in Manhattan -- on federal charges alleging he stole Daniels’s book advance.

In the California case, prosecutors this week asked a judge to deny Avenatti’s latest request to delay that trial.

Avenatti’s primary goals “appear to be to delay these proceedings ad infinitum and make unfounded accusations against the government to distract from defendant’s egregious criminal conduct,” the U.S. said in a June 9 filing.

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