The jury deliberating the fate of attorney and onetime White House hopeful Michael Avenatti has reached a verdict.
The disgrace lawyer was convicted of wire fraud and aggravated identity theft for stealing nearly $300,000 in book-advance money from his then-client and former porn star Stormy Daniels.
Avenatti faces up to 22 years behind bars.
A sentencing date hasn’t been set.
The news makes Avenatti’s fall from grace complete. A few years ago, many considered him a political force to be reckoned with. One who could win the presidency.
As CNN reports:
Prosecutors alleged that Avenatti — who helped negotiate the $800,000 advance for Daniels’ October 2018 book “Full Disclosure” — defrauded his former client by instructing her literary agent to send two of the installments of the advance totaling nearly $300,000 to an account controlled by him, rather than directly to Daniels, without her knowledge.
The verdict came after an eventful day when the jury asked the judge for help, saying one of the 12 was “acting on a feeling” and not considering evidence.
Amid the deadlock, Avenatti moved for a mistrial, but was denied.
Meanwhile, the jury overcame the potential impasse.
The New York Post adds:
The porn star, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, inked a book deal that year with St. Martin’s Press after it was revealed she was paid $130,000 in hush money before the 2016 presidential election to keep quiet about an alleged sexual encounter she had with Donald Trump years earlier.
To pull off his scheme, prosecutors showed, Avenatti forged Daniels’ name on a letter to her literary agent that directed him to wire two payments meant for the adult entertainer into a bank account he controlled.