May 22, 2019
On Wednesday, federal prosecutors in New York unsealed two indictments against lawyer Michael Avenatti, accusing him of of defrauding his former client, adult-film star Stormy Daniels in her book deal.
Two indictments on Avenatti were unsealed.
One indictment accuses Avenatti of aggravated identity theft and wire fraud in connection with the Stormy Daniels case. Avenatti is charged with diverting parts of the proceeds from the book’s release and using it for personal and business expenses.
The other indictment is a formal charge against Avenatti for attempting to extort Nike, which is a separate case involving his arrest in March.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said, “Michael Avenatti abused and violated the core duty of an attorney — the duty to his client. He blatantly lied to and stole from his client to maintain his extravagant lifestyle, including to pay for, among other things, a monthly car payment on a Ferrari. Far from zealously representing his client, Avenatti, as alleged, instead engaged in outright deception and theft, victimizing rather than advocating for his client.”
The book money indictment alleges Michael Avenatti “stole approximately $300,000” from Stormy Daniels, with only about half the money repaid.
Mr. Avenatti, who has a history of being accused of stealing millions of dollars from clients, has denied any wrongdoing.
After the Wednesday unsealing of the indictments, Michael Avenatti tweeted: “I will be fully exonerated once the relevant emails, contracts, text messages, and documents are presented . . . No monies relating to Ms. Daniels were ever misappropriated or mishandled. She received millions of dollars worth of legal services and we spent huge sums in expenses.”
Michael Avenatti no longer represents Ms. Daniels, but has used the attention garnered from his former client’s claims of having slept with the President to make frequent cable news appearances and flirt with the possibility of running for President.
– MK. II