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Michael Avenatti asks for leniency after stealing $300K from Stormy Daniels — because he wrote letter saying he's 'sorry'
On Friday, the Associated Press reported that disgraced former celebrity attorney Michael Avenatti is pleading for leniency at sentencing after his conviction for stealing $300,000 from his former client, adult film star Stephanie Clifford, a.k.a. Stormy Daniels.
One of the reasons, his lawyers argued, is that he wrote Daniels a heartfelt apology letter.
"His lawyers cite a letter he sent to the porn actor saying he is truly sorry. His lawyers wrote on Thursday in a Manhattan federal court submission that he wants counseling and alcohol treatment. He was convicted of cheating Daniels of nearly $300,000 in book proceeds," said the report. "He tried to justify taking some proceeds by citing legal quests he took on for Daniels to negate the effects of a 2016 payment she said she received to remain silent about a tryst with Donald Trump."
“This sobering reality is as sufficient and powerful a punishment and deterrence as any," declared his lawyers. "Worse, Mr. Avenatti’s extreme rise and fall played out on the most public of platforms, an experience he is unlikely to ever recover from reputationally.”
Avenatti's conviction for stealing from Daniels, who also alleges he filed an ill-fated defamation suit against Trump in her name without her consent, is not the only criminal conviction secured against the firebrand California lawyer.
In 2021, Avenatti was sentenced to two years in prison for trying to extort $20 million from Nike. He has been hit with three dozen indictments including perjury, tax evasion, and stealing from clients, including a mentally ill paraplegic man who won a settlement from Los Angeles County.
The Texas Department of Public Safety is searching for a Pennsylvania man who allegedly made terrorism threats.
"Hardy Carroll Lloyd, 44, is a known white supremacist and is wanted by authorities after posting a series of threatening comments online," KHOU reported Friday. "In them, he talks about carrying a firearm onto the grounds of the Texas State Capitol this weekend and challenging any law enforcement officer who tries to take enforcement actions against him, Texas DPS said."
The man reportedly has ties to the Austin area.
"Lloyd is a convicted felon and cannot legally carry a firearm. He is described as being 5 feet and 11 inches tall and weighs about 250 pounds," the station reported. "Texas Crime Stoppers is offering a cash reward of up to $1,000 for information leading to Lloyd's arrest. Texas DPS said all tips are guaranteed to be anonymous."
Authorities say the man should be considered armed and dangerous and are asking for the public's help in locating the subject.
In 2021, CBS Pittsburgh reported there were fears of violence after Lloyd was released from prison.
Hardy Lloyd Released From Prison, Community Urged to be Vigilant www.youtube.com
On Friday, The Daily Beast reported that a Drug Enforcement Administration agent is being charged with accepting "tens of thousands of dollars" in bribes to release agency secrets to the defense attorneys of suspects.
"John Costanzo, Jr., 47, traded 'nonpublic DEA information, including information about forthcoming, sealed indictments and nonpublic investigations, such as the identities of individuals charged and the anticipated timing of arrests; and intelligence which Costanzo obtained from a confidential DEA database,' according to an indictment unsealed in Manhattan federal court," reported Justin Rohrlich. "Costanzo, who allegedly used a so-called burner phone to throw investigators off the scent, spent the money on repairs to his Porsche, airline tickets, and a $50,000 down payment on a condominium, the filing alleges."
"The feds say Costanzo shared the sensitive data on an 'as-needed basis' to former DEA Assistant Special Agent-in-Charge Manuel Recio, 53, who worked out of the Miami Field Office until his retirement in 2018," said the report. "He then began working as a private investigator for defense lawyers in Miami, using privileged info to help them recruit new clients and get a leg up on the government in court, the indictment states. On top of providing restricted data, the filing alleges that Costanzo — while on the DEA payroll — in fact 'assisted Recio in his work as a private investigator on behalf of charged defendants.'"
According to the report, if Costanzo and Recio are convicted, they each face up to 60 years in prison.
"In all, the feds say Recio paid Costanzo more than $70,000 to leak DEA secrets to him," the report continued. "The funds were routed through a network of bank accounts controlled by coworkers, family members, and associates, according to prosecutors. In one example, feds say the unnamed task force officer working with the DEA incorporated a company that Recio used to transfer more than $20,000 to Costanzo. The transactions were memorialized in texts between Costanzo and the task force officer, with Costanzo asking for 'the exact name of the company,' and the task force officer replying with a photo of his checkbook."
The DEA has been hit hard by scandals and misconduct allegations in recent years. In one incident last November, an intoxicated DEA agent was arrested after he pulled his government issued-firearm on a fellow patron in a bar in Bozeman, Montana. Another DEA agent attended the January 6 Capitol insurrection, believing he could use it as a platform to launch a podcast and a line of cigars, then lied to the FBI about flashing his government credentials at the scene.