First appeared in NewsBreak
By Aron Solomon
Michael Avenatti is a former lawyer who gained astronomical fame by representing adult film director and actress Stormy Daniels in her legal battles against former President Donald Trump.
While Avenatti rose from relatively unknown L.A. lawyer to legal scion to presumptive presidential candidate, he brought it all down in a swoosh.
Avenatti’s career and life were destroyed after his March 2019 arrest in the Nike case, where he was convicted of extortion and honest services fraud and sentenced to 2-1/2 years in prison. Avenatti was also convicted of defrauding Daniels out of money from a book contract and admitted to cheating four other clients, including a paraplegic, out of millions of dollars.
On Wednesday morning, the 2nd. Circuit rejected Avenatti’s appeal of his Nike conviction, classifying it as entirely “meritless.”
Win none, lose all.
Here is a historical jaunt through some of the most crimes he committed:
Avenatti was convicted of attempting to extort Nike for up to $25 million by threatening to reveal purportedly damaging information about the company. This is never a good idea, particularly in light of the fact that Nike is one of the most powerful companies in the world. How Avenatti envisioned this working out is beyond even the casual legal observer.
Honest services fraud
Avenatti was also convicted of honest services fraud in the Nike case. This crime involves depriving someone of honest services through bribery or kickbacks.
Avenatti was convicted of defrauding Daniels out of money from a book contract and admitted to cheating four other clients out of millions of dollars. Fraud involves intentionally deceiving someone for personal gain.
Anyone who thinks Avenatti is done fighting has a lot to learn. He has vowed to continue all of his legal battles in what he perceives as an ongoing personal journey to justice while others believe it to be ongoing folly.
As New Jersey criminal defense lawyer David Gelman points out, “There is a point where courts can lose their patience with what they see as a frivolous argument. For Mr. Avenatti, this was the Second Circuit’s point.”
About Aron Solomon
A Pulitzer Prize-nominated writer, Aron Solomon, JD, is the Chief Legal Analyst for Esquire Digital and the Editor-in-Chief for Today’s Esquire. He has taught entrepreneurship at McGill University and the University of Pennsylvania, and was elected to Fastcase 50, recognizing the top 50 legal innovators in the world. Aron has been featured in Forbes, CBS News, CNBC, USA Today, ESPN, TechCrunch, The Hill, BuzzFeed, Fortune, Venture Beat, The Independent, Fortune China, Yahoo!, ABA Journal, Law.com, The Boston Globe, YouTube, NewsBreak, and many other leading publications.