NEW YORK (Reuters) -Michael Avenatti, the celebrity lawyer who took on former U.S. President Donald Trump, should serve consecutive prison terms for two recent criminal convictions, prosecutors argued on Friday, rejecting his request to serve time concurrently.
Avenatti, 51, rose to cable news stardom in 2018 by defending porn star Stormy Daniels in lawsuits against Trump. But the Los Angeles-based lawyer’s career unraveled amid accusations he stole from Daniels and extorted $25 million from Nike Inc.
In a court filing late on Thursday, federal prosecutors in Manhattan – who secured Avenatti’s conviction earlier this year for embezzling nearly $300,000 in Daniels’ book proceeds – said he should serve a “substantial” prison term for a fraud charge and a two-year sentence for a related identity theft charge.
They said he should serve both sentences in addition to the 2-1/2-year prison term for his 2020 conviction in the Nike case.
“Not only did the defendant lie to and steal from someone in breach of his solemn duties, but at the very same time he was doing so, he was appearing on television and other media, falsely presenting himself as Daniels’ champion,” prosecutors wrote.
Avenatti is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman on June 2.
Avenatti last week asked for a three-year sentence in the Daniels case, with one of those years to be served concurrently with the Nike sentence, reducing his overall prison time.
“The Government’s recommendation is simply greater than necessary to achieve the statutory goals of sentencing in federal court,” Avenatti’s legal team said in a statement.
Avenatti has vowed to appeal the guilty verdict.
Daniels is known for receiving $130,000 from Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, in exchange for remaining quiet ahead of the 2016 election about sexual encounters she says she had with Trump, which he has denied.
Avenatti successfully freed Daniels from her nondisclosure agreement with Trump.
(Reporting by Luc Cohen in New YorkEditing by Frances Kerry and Richard Chang)