The Epic Fall of Michael Avenatti

Michael Avenatti

Thus far, 2020 has not been a very good year for Michael Avenatti.

On Valentine’s Day, he was convicted of attempted extortion, honest-services fraud, and the use of interstate communications for illegal purposes. His trial took place in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York (SDNY).

All of the charges concerned Avenatti’s failed attempt to coerce the Nike Company to pay him $25 million to conduct an investigation into the company’s alleged funneling of under-the-table payments to college basketball players.

Nike Logo

According to federal prosecutors, Avenatti needed the money to pay for a lavish lifestyle that included a $12 million oceanfront home in Laguna Beach, a $5 million private jet, a Porsche and a Ferrari – and a failed chain of coffeehouses.

Michael Avenatti’s Private Jet

Evidence in the Nike case included an audiotape of Avenatti threatening to cause the company to lose $10 billion in market value if it didn’t hire him to undertake the proposed investigation. “I’m not fucking around with this…A few million dollars doesn’t move the needle for me,” he said during one of three phone calls with a Nike lawyer in March 2019.

Avenatti chose not to testify in his trial after U.S. District Court Judge Paul G. Gardephe ruled that he could be cross-examined about his “desperate financial condition” – and about accusations that he had lied repeatedly to various parties not involved in the SDNY case (This was another instance in which the court was willing to let the prosecution introduce “evidence” that had nothing to do with the charged crimes).

U.S. District Court Judge Paul G. Gardephe

When he is sentenced on June 17th, Avenatti will be facing a maximum penalty of 42 years in federal prison. But, as with all federal cases, his actual sentence will be up to the judge who presided over his trial.


More Trials Ahead for Avenatti

And there’s still more trouble ahead for the former media darling who was once being talked about as a potential Democrat candidate to run against President Trump in the November elections.

Michael Avenatti

He is currently slated to start another trial on April 21st in the same courthouse where he was convicted earlier this month.

That trial concerns his alleged theft of nearly $300,000 from his former client Stormy Daniels. The funds in question were part of the advanced payment she received for her best-selling memoir “Full Disclosure”.

Stormy & Michael back during friendlier times.

Avenatti also faces a third federal trial in California for allegedly ripping off five other clients – one of whom is a paraplegic – and for fraudulently obtaining bank loans, evading taxes, and committing perjury during his bankruptcy proceedings there.


Avenatti Has Been on Lockdown at MCC

Avenatti was held in an isolation cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC) from January 18th through February 25th.

Metropolitan Correctional Center

He was transported there from California after being arrested for allegedly violating his pre-trial bail conditions – and was immediately placed in the cell that had previously been occupied by Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán, the Mexican drug cartel leader who was convicted on numerous charges in another SDNY trial last February.

For the past 8 days, MCC has been on a facility-wide lockdown as guards – some of whom were brought in from other prisons – searched for a loaded gun that had supposedly been smuggled inside. During the lockdown, prisoners were confined to their cells 24-hours a day – and no visitors, including attorneys, were allowed in the facility (MCC started allowing lawyers to resume visits yesterday).

The gun was found Thursday night in one of the prisoner housing units.

Prior to finding the gun, guards also uncovered a large amount of contraband – including cellphones, drugs, pornography, and homemade weapons.

The lockdown was scheduled to continue at least through yesterday in order to ensure that every area in the prison had been searched.

MCC is the prison where Jeffrey Epstein allegedly committed suicide last August 10th. Following that incident, the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) launched an internal probe that has already resulted in criminal charges being brought against two of MCC’s guards.

Meanwhile, based on the results of this past week’s search efforts at MCC, federal prosecutors from the SDNY have launched a criminal investigation concerning the flow of contraband into the prison.


BOP Rarely Prosecutes Guards for Contraband Sales to Prisoners

Although the BOP rarely prosecutes guards for bringing in contraband, the reality is they are the ones who bring in most of the prohibited items that are found in federal prisons.

Guards in most federal prisons are allowed to enter the facilities without going through any type of screening device – which makes it relatively easy for them to bring in contraband when they report for duty.

Prisoners usually pay for such contraband by having friends and family members deposit cash in a guard’s account at an E-commerce company such as PayPal, Venmo, Cash.App, etc.

Prices for cell phones and a charger vary by prison but are usually available in the $500- $1,000 range.

And international cell phones – like the one that was confiscated from NXIVM leader Keith Raniere last year – can cost as much as $2,500.
Federal guards start out by earning $44,515 per year – and the average annual pay for a federal guard is $51,370.

Given those potential earnings, it’s easy to understand why some guards seek to pick up extra income by becoming contraband couriers (Selling just one cell phone and charger per month can net a guard an extra $5,000-$10,000 in untaxed income per year).


Avenatti’s Epic Fall

Michael Avenatti is living proof that you don’t have to join a cult in order to ruin your life.

Whereas people like Clare Bronfman and Allison Mack didn’t really fuck up their lives until they came into contact with Keith Raniere and his NXIVM criminal enterprise, Avenatti blew up his life all by himself.

From celebrity attorney, nightly news commentator and potential presidential candidate, the 49-year-old Michael Avenatti is just another convicted felon who is going to be spending much if not the rest of – his life in federal prison.

From a name that became familiar to millions to Federal Prisoner #86743-054.

An epic fall…


About the author

K.R. Claviger


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  • On a tangential note, involving cultish quackery and pseudoscience, Jim Bakker, convicted fraudster formerly of the infamous Jim & Tammy Sue televangelism duo, is apparently still at it:

    NY AG Letitia James orders televangelist Jim Bakker to quit advertising coronavirus cures

    ‘Bakker interviewed Sherrill Sellman—a naturopathic doctor—on a Feb. 12 episode of his show where she claimed “Silver Solution” can cure strains of COVID-19.

    The televangelist also sells the product on his website’

    AG James is, by the way, the person who ought to be prosecuting the Raniere crime syndicate’s state-level crimes – particularly if the federal NDNY is dropping the ball.

    • “A Leopard never changes its Spots.”

      Bakker moved his Dog and Pony TV show from the Charlotte area to Branson, Missouri.
      He even got some poor sap to “invest” 25 million in his new scam ministry.

      “In 2003, he began broadcasting the daily The Jim Bakker Show at Studio City Café in Branson, Missouri with his second wife, Lori
      Most of Bakker’s audience receives his program on DirecTV and Dish Network.
      A man named Jerry Crawford, who credits Bakker with having saved his marriage, invested $25 million in a new ministry for Bakker in Blue Eye, Missouri, named Morningside. Production for The Jim Bakker Show moved to Morningside in 2008.
      Bakker also sells colloidal silver supplements, which he advertises as a panacea; in March 2020, the office of the New York State Attorney General ordered Bakker to cease making false medicinal claims about his supplements’ alleged ability to cure the 2019-20 strains of coronavirus.”

      Colloidal silver can cause serious side effects. The most common is argyria, a bluish-gray discoloration of the skin, which is usually permanent. Colloidal silver can also cause poor absorption of some drugs, such as certain antibiotics and thyroxine (used to treat thyroid deficiency).

      Is Colloidal Silver Safe?
      Colloidal silver can cause serious side effects. The most common is argyria, a bluish-gray discoloration of the skin, which is usually permanent.
      Colloidal silver can also cause poor absorption of some drugs, such as certain antibiotics and thyroxine (used to treat thyroid deficiency).
      The FDA also warned in 1999 that colloidal silver isn’t safe or effective for treating any disease or condition.
      The FDA and the Federal Trade Commission have taken action against a number of companies for making misleading claims about colloidal silver products.


      • Thanks for the background on the Bakkers, and colloidal silver.

        The principles of frauds certainly may be incorrigible – in NXIVM’s case that’s Raniere and probably Nancy Salzman, though Salzman was more involved in pushing psychological pseudo-science that she probably believed in, and I think she’d be more likely to return to that that necessarily to deliberately exploiting people for power or financial gain. In the cases of Lauren Salzman, Mack, Kathy Russell, and others, they seem more like gullible and malleable hangers on who’d never been in trouble before, and I doubt they’d seek to do such things again, they they might be prone to getting into it once more under the sway of some new group or leader.

        And I think it’s also hard to say about the Bronfman sisters, who may just be in the same category as those others, except that they had money that allowed them to do inordinate damage while under Raniere’s sway. And Sara still is to some extent, carrying on with the Rainbow Cultural Gardens human experiment, though I do see signs, and suspect, she’s watered it down in an attempt to remedy the obvious faults of Raniere’s original theory – that’s actually a typical trajectory for someone getting out of a cult, trying to find ways to hold on to, and validate, some of their beliefs and practices; many take time to finally shed and reject it all, and some never quite do.

    • How do you go from the dirty criminal democrat Avenatti to Jim and Tammy Faker, anonyfaker. Stick to the fucking topic. Write your own article about the fakers.

      • I don’t see you complaining about off-topic comments when someone uses them as an opportunity to add a right-leaning news piece to a post that’s completely irrelevant to something like the central topic here of NXIVM.

        Frank has a stable of writers who for whatever reason lean right ideologically, and play the cult-ish game of skewering examples of misbehavior on the opposite part of the ideological spectrum, implying the other side is somehow more unethical and psychologically disintegrated – exactly the tactics that real cult leaders like Raniere use, making it a strange feature of a nominally cult-busting website.

        I couldn’t match Frank’s production capacity if I tried, and I don’t have the energy for pure gamesmanship. But I have considered trying to find some way to put together pieces to submit that don’t take too much of my time away from more valuable pursuits – and now thanks to you, I can claim that any efforts I make in that vein are by popular demand.

        • I don’t see anyone but you that violates that more than when one of you Democrat buddies is the topic. You spout Democrat talking points like they grow out of your ass,

  • As a reminder that there are bad actors everywhere on the ideological spectrum – though I could argue that there’s some evidence that centrists are, actually, more balanced people 🙂 – I’ll share this that showed up in one of my news feeds today:

    Disgraced ex-Rep. Aaron Schock comes out as gay
    ‘“I am gay,” wrote the 38-year-old ex-Illinois pol who resigned from Congress five years ago amid claims he misused government and campaign funds’

    Note that the Post manages to completely avoid mentioning his party affiliation anywhere in the article.

    Fox is surprisingly forthcoming:

    Aaron Schock, the former Republican congressman, comes out as gay

    I always check them now on any topic that comes up where I want to fact-check and cite sources, since some people here seem to have a knee-jerk objection to references to other news sources, but the interesting thing that’s revealed is that there are a surprising number of stories that Fox News doesn’t cover at all, or that only some local TV affiliate does even though it’s a national story. And it’s really only sources like the New York Times and Vanity Fair that do in-depth pieces, such as their investigations into NXIVM.

    • Schock is a former Republican Congressman from Peoria and every Republican in Illinois knew he was Gay.
      Aaron Schock would post Beef Cake photos of himself on the internet.
      If that’s not a clue nothing is.

      • Apparently he was in the closet enough to manage to keep it from his fundamentalist family – who have reportedly shunned him since he came out.

        • AnonyMaker:
          You would be surprised how many prominent politicians in Illinois in both parties have been the target of rumors of homosexuality or bisexuality.
          There is a very prominent politician of Presidential timber who is now up in his eighties who has been the target of such rumors.
          As long as he is alive, I won’t mention his name but if he should pass away in the near term, I will discuss the rumors.

    • Why is it so surprisng that Fox identified Schock as a Republican, as the sons have taken over operations and are flaming liberals? LOL

      What about all of the stories that none of the plethora of Libtard channels cover? Fox could only cover some of the stories that they don’t cover, unless they simply covered only the stories the other channels cover, but the other channels could cover all of the stories they don’t cover, as each one could cover some of the Fox stories, and others could cover the other stories. LOL

      You Libtards are so funny, trying to look “moderate” while being flaming leftists. LOL

    • Anonyfaker, I thought this article was about your hero and probable butt buddy, corrupt democrat Michael Avenatti? Please stop obfuscating and stick to the topic at hand.

  • Michael Avenatti probably thought he was above the law by virtue of his Democrat friends who had connections inside the DOJ where they could “rig” things or otherwise control processes in the past. (Which is how they apparently got things done for NXIVM, as well)

    Avenatti relied on those “political insiders” to enable his corruption. Kind of like Bangkok (Pablo).

    Except I don’t think Avenatti was trafficking weapons with Mexican cartels while pretending to advocate for the “Arizona-Mexico relationship.”

    The extent of the corruption is literally painful to come to terms with when you realize what really happened in prior administrations.

  • Michael Avenatti was moved out of his isolation cell and into general population at MCC in late February, according to what I read from more than one source, right the move happened.

    “Michael Avenatti is out of solitary confinement, his lawyer says,” from CNN, 2/25/2020. Avenatti has fallen all right, but it is because he got caught, not because he really “fell.” This stinker was never upright.

    • Apologies if this comment was sent twice. Our internet service has been wonky. One question I have. Is this aggressive freak still considered to be a licensed, qualified attorney, or has that game been ended for him in any official manner by now?

      • Shivani:

        I doubt if Michael Avenatti will be practicing law anytime soon.
        But he does seem like the perfect lawyer for the NXIVM defendants.
        California bar: Avenatti stole from client using ‘deceit’
        December 18, 2019

        LOS ANGELES (AP) — Attorney Michael Avenatti should be prevented from practicing law for pocketing a client’s settlement and covering his tracks through “deceit, dishonesty and lies,” a lawyer for the California State Bar said Wednesday.

        Attorney Eli Morgenstern said Avenatti poses a threat to clients and the public if he continues to perform legal work. The bar is seeking to put Avenatti on involuntary inactive status, and Morgenstern said it is likely he will eventually be disbarred.

        Avenatti, who separately faces federal criminal charges, denounced the hearing as a “dog and pony show” and a “complete joke.”

        In the bar proceeding, Avenatti is only accused of stealing from one client, Gregory Barela, for whom he negotiated a $1.9 million settlement in an intellectual property dispute.

        Avenatti stole all but $609 of the initial $1.6 million payout made in January 2018, Morgenstern said. He said bank records support the allegations.

        Barela said Avenatti never told him the money had been received and gave him the runaround as he desperately racked up debts trying to run a construction supply business and another startup.

        Barela anxiously texted Avenatti for months to ask about the money as he went $250,000 into credit card debt.

        “I was going broke,” Barela testified

        It was only after hiring a new lawyer that Barela realized Avenatti had lied to him for eight months about the proceeds of the settlement. He is still owed $710,000, Morgenstern said.

        Avenatti, in comments to reporters before the hearing, said Barela is a “career criminal with a history of lying.”

        Barela’s lawyer said Avenatti was blaming the victim.

        “Nothing Mr. Avenatti says changes the fact that he appears to have falsified the payment dates in Mr. Barela’s settlement agreement and stolen his settlement money,” attorney Steven Bledsoe said.

        Federal prosecutors have charged Avenatti with embezzling from Barela. U.S. Attorney Nick Hanna said in announcing criminal charges in March that Avenatti had even gone so far as to offer Barela a $130,000 “advance” on money Avenatti had pocketed. Avenatti later offered Barela a $100,000 loan — if he paid interest.
        “I’ll steal money from you but if you want it back I’ll make you a loan if you agree to pay interest.” Michael Avenatti

      • I think he is still officially a lawyer, but it’s difficult to practice law from inside a jail/prison. He should eventually get disbarred, but it is California….

        Here’s another dirtbag who was also eventually disbarred, and he is a former Amway Diamond, and one of his six Platinum legs was Amway’s lead lawyer when they sued me, and he has several of his own lawsuits against him that he’s also lost:

    • It was, in fact, reported that Avenatti was moved out of his isolation cell after he was convicted (I’ve updated the post to reflect that fact). What I was really trying to point out is that the BOP kept him in isolation while he was preparing to go to trial.

  • Maybe Joe O’Hara can chime in and tell readers how we can send gifts to Michael Avenatti or fund his prison account?

    I wish to gift him a large supply of ‘macks’ and ‘expired macks’ so he can trade them as prison currency to spare his booty from having fudge packed inside it.

    How many macks would be required to pay off Bubba to spare him from having his fudge packed? I’m thinking at least 20 macks and 10 expired macks.

    Is that correct, Joe?

    • Yes, I was joking about wanting to send Avenatti anything. 🙂

      I couldn’t care less about how he fares inside prison. 🙂

      But I am curious how the ‘mack’ system works inside prison. Maybe Joe could tell us how many macks can buy certain things in prison? 🙂

    • As a former Economics major, I found the prison economy at MDC to be fascinating. As with any economy, the most important thing is that everyone involved in the economy mutually agrees on the same “unit of value”/currency. Whether it’s seashells or dollar bills or Macks, the economy only works if everyone agrees to value everything in terms of the same currency.

      In the old days, cigarettes were the agreed-upon currency in prison. But once they were banned from prisons, Macks and books of stamps became the new currency.

      At MDC, a Mack was basically worth $1.00 because that’s what they cost at the Commissary (An expired Mack was usually worth 50% or 60% of that).

      Meanwhile, a “Book” (which had 10 stamps) was worth $5.00 – which, once again, reflected what they cost at the Commissary. When the price of stamps increased, some guys tried to change the value of “Books” to $6.00 but, after a brief marketplace struggle between buyers and sellers, the price settled back down at $5.00.

      • In Polynesia and Papa New Guinea, shell money was once a real currency in earlier times. So who should be surprised by a particular means of payment before the introduction of modern central bank money?

About the Author

Frank Parlato is an investigative journalist.

His work has been cited in hundreds of news outlets, like The New York Times, The Daily Mail, VICE News, CBS News, Fox News, New York Post, New York Daily News, Oxygen, Rolling Stone, People Magazine, The Sun, The Times of London, CBS Inside Edition, among many others in all five continents.

His work to expose and take down NXIVM is featured in books like “Captive” by Catherine Oxenberg, “Scarred” by Sarah Edmonson, “The Program” by Toni Natalie, and “NXIVM. La Secta Que Sedujo al Poder en México” by Juan Alberto Vasquez.

Parlato has been prominently featured on HBO’s docuseries “The Vow” and was the lead investigator and coordinating producer for Investigation Discovery’s “The Lost Women of NXIVM.” In addition, he was credited in the Starz docuseries 'Seduced' for saving 'slave' women from being branded and escaping the sex-slave cult known as DOS.

Parlato appeared on the Nancy Grace Show, Beyond the Headlines with Gretchen Carlson, Dr. Oz, American Greed, Dateline NBC, and NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, where Parlato conducted the first-ever interview with Keith Raniere after his arrest. This was ironic, as many credit Parlato as one of the primary architects of his arrest and the cratering of the cult he founded.

Parlato is a consulting producer and appears in TNT's The Heiress and the Sex Cult, which premieres on May 22, 2022.

IMDb — Frank Parlato,_Jr.

Contact Frank with tips or for help.
Phone / Text: (305) 783-7083