Prosecutors balk at Avenatti's 7th sentencing delay request

·2 min read

NEW YORK (AP) — Prosecutors did not find Michael Avenatti’s seventh request to delay sentencing a charm, saying Tuesday that the once high profile California lawyer should be forced to hear his punishment next week for trying to extort Nike for up to $25 million.

In court papers, prosecutors urged a Manhattan federal judge to reject the request Avenatti’s lawyers made late Monday for a two-month delay after six earlier postponements allowed him to delay his fate for nearly a year and a half.

They said lawyers for Avenatti's victims — Nike and a California youth basketball league coach — had asserted that both want the sentencing to occur June 30, as currently scheduled.

And they characterized Avenatti's reasons for seeking a seventh delay as weak, "untimely and unpersuasive" and the first that did not cite the threat posed by the coronavirus as a reason to delay.

Avenatti's attorneys, Scott Srebnick and E. Danya Perry, said they needed another 60 days because prosecutors had made the “unexpected” demand in presentence arguments last week that Avenatti be ordered to pay $1 million in restitution to Nike. They said Avenatti deserves time to review documents related to the request.

They also said they seek delay so Avenatti can hear the outcome of claims that the government failed to properly divulge certain evidence prior to his trial early last year.

Prosecutors disputed the reasoning for delay, saying restitution can be determined after sentencing and the evidence claims could have been made before trial.

Avenatti, 50, was convicted by a jury early last year. He faces other fraud charges at upcoming trials in Los Angeles and New York, including claims that he cheated Stormy Daniels of hundreds of thousands of dollars from a book deal. He has pleaded not guilty.

Avenatti's representation of the porn star brought him fame in 2018, appearing often on cable television news programs to discuss lawsuits he filed on her behalf against then-President Donald Trump. The lawsuit sought to nullify a 2016 nondisclosure agreement after Daniels was paid $130,000 in hush money to remain silent about her claims of a 2006 sexual tryst with Trump. Trump has denied it happened.

In court papers, prosecutors have urged a “very substantial” prison sentence for Avenatti, aligning themselves with an eight-year term behind bars recommended by a Probation Office report.

Defense lawyers say their client deserves leniency. They've urged no more than six months in prison and a year of home confinement, saying Avenatti has suffered from constant ridicule after his “cataclysmic fall.”

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