‘Drunk on the power of his platform’: Former CNN regular Michael Avenatti sentenced to 2.5 years in prison for extortion
Avenatti was convicted last year of trying to extort more than $20 million from the sportswear company, but his new sentence presents only the beginning of his legal troubles. Avenatti is also facing a trial in Los Angeles later this year on charges of fraud – and he’s been charged in New York City with cheating his once-star client, Daniels, out of hundreds of thousands of dollars.
At his sentencing on Thursday, Avenatti reportedly wept and said, “I and I alone have destroyed my career, my relationships, my life, and there is no doubt that I deserve to pay, have paid, and will pay a further price for what I have done.”
His misfortune represents quite a fall from grace, as the celebrity lawyer was once a regular on left-leaning networks including CNN in 2018 and 2019, where he would often talk about Daniels’ suit against Trump – she claimed the ex-president once paid her hush money to cover up an affair, which he denies. Hosts would at times talk up the amateur pundit’s potential chances in 2020 running against Trump for Democrats. He appeared on CNN and MSNBC no less than 229 times across a two-year period, according to a Media Research Center analysis.Also on rt.com ‘I love talking about election fraud’: Trump says he’s ‘looking forward’ to sitting for deposition in Big Tech lawsuit
CNN’s Brian Stelter even called him a “serious” contender against Trump in 2020, long before the lawyer faced his current legal troubles.
Critics were all too happy to celebrate Avenatti’s downfall, and many used the news of his sentencing as an excuse to remind the world just how glowing and fawning Avenatti’s media appearances really were at the height of his anti-Trump fame.
One mashup clip of Avenatti media appearances especially made the rounds following his sentencing. Among the bits in the footage, former ‘The View’ co-star and liberal activist Ava Navarro compares Avenatti to “the Holy Spirit.”
FLASHBACK: Ana Navarro to Avenatti: “You're like the Holy Spirit. You are all places at all times”pic.twitter.com/FwUPhl0jqo— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) July 8, 2021
“It was around this time 3 years ago there were serious think-pieces arguing that Avenatti should run for president, on top of the glowing profiles and glossy magazine spreads,” Business Insider’s Grace Panetta tweeted.
And just a year ago I remember when Andrew’s colleagues suggested Avenatti was a “serious contender” for President of the United States ! https://t.co/CVV8ap8u3G— Jon Levine (@LevineJonathan) July 8, 2021
Will even one of member the corrupt corporate media—who for months fluffed Avenatti as a serious Dem presidential contender—apologize & admit that the were full of 💩💩💩? https://t.co/vW65GOXMay— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) July 8, 2021
CNN treated serial fraudster and convicted felon Michael Avenatti as a reliable source. That’s the real story today. pic.twitter.com/Op1TtD3RBQ— Cernovich (@Cernovich) July 8, 2021
Though he reportedly acknowledged through tears that he would never practice law again, Avenatti did leave his future fairly open.
“I still feel positive. I know I can do better. I can be the person I dreamed of being,” he said.
Avenatti was originally charged last year for the attempted Nike extortion. He was retained by a youth basketball league organizer who claimed the company was corruptly paying players. Avenatti took his client’s complaints and accusations and tried threatening Nike with bad publicity in exchange for a massive payout.
US District Judge Paul G. Gardephe called Avenatti’s behavior “outrageous” at the Thursday sentencing, telling Avenatti he had become “drunk on the power of his own platform.”
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