New York prosecutors urged a judge Friday to order California attorney Michael Avenatti to begin serving a two-and-a-half year sentence, more than a year after he was found guilty of trying to extort up to $25 million from Nike.
Avenatti, 50, was initially allowed to defer reporting to prison because he faced trial a few days later in California for defrauding clients and others there. The trial ended in a mistrial.
Federal prosecutors in Manhattan said in a letter to the judge who sentenced Avenatti in July that the uncertain schedule for Avenatti’s retrial in California means it is no longer a valid excuse to delay reporting to prison.
Avenatti gained fame in 2018 when he represented porn star Stormy Daniels in lawsuits against then-President Donald Trump. He appeared frequently on cable TV shows.
Prosecutors noted that the November 2 retrial date was recently postponed and that cases before the San Francisco Federal Court of Appeals could delay it by months.
“In light of the foregoing, there is no longer a separate and time-bound basis for the continued delay in extradition of the defendant. Furthermore, it is in the interests of justice that the accused begin serving the prison term imposed by this court for his serious crimes, including defrauding his client,” Prosecutors wrote.
In the Nike case, Avenatti was representing a California amateur basketball coach when prosecutors said he threatened to use his access to the media to muddy the name of the sportswear giants if he didn’t pay him millions of dollars.
Avenatti’s lawyers did not immediately respond to a letter seeking comment on Friday.
In 2019, New York federal prosecutors charged Avenatti with defrauding Daniels by failing to pay her hundreds of thousands of dollars owed from a book deal. Avenatti, who has pleaded not guilty, is due to face trial on those charges in January.