District Judge Jesse Furman said Avenatti’s conduct was “so brazen and egregious” adding, he “took advantage of a vulnerable victim given her unorthodox career and somewhat unorthodox beliefs.”
Part of Thursday’s sentence will be served alongside the Nike sentence, but Furman said Avenatti will have to serve an additional two and a half years after he completes the Nike sentence.
Avenatti was also ordered to pay $148,750 to Daniels and $297,900 to the US.
Furman told Avenatti: “I hope you put your formidable talents to better use.”
The legal turmoil is a dramatic turn for Avenatti, who rose to fame representing Daniels as she went public with allegations that she received a $130,000 payment just before the 2016 presidential election to silence her allegations of an affair with then-candidate Donald Trump. Trump has denied the affair.
On the heels of the publicity over the hush-money scandal, Avenatti helped Daniels ink a $800,000 book deal. Prosecutors said Avenatti stole nearly $300,000 of the advance by fabricating a letter purportedly from Daniels redirecting payments from the book publisher to an account under Avenatti’s control.
Last month, Avenatti wrote an apology letter to Daniels, which he provided to the judge, in which he says, “It is obvious that I failed you in many respects and that I disappointed you and let you down in multiple ways.” He added, “I wish that we could turn back the clock so that the mistakes I made would never be repeated. I am truly sorry.”
Avenatti was transferred from FCI Terminal Island in California, where he is serving the Nike sentence, to the Metropolitan Detention Center in New York for Thursday’s sentencing. He will be transported back to California for his trial next month.
This story has been updated with additional details.