Michael Avenatti charged with embezzlement, fraud, cheating on taxes

Michael Avenatti charged with embezzlement, fraud, cheating on taxes

Michael Avenatti, the silver-tongued attorney who until last month represented adult film actress Stormy Daniels in her lawsuits against President Donald Trump, faces 36-count federal indictment on charges including wire fraud, perjury, failure to pay taxes and embezzlement.

Avenatti responded to the filing on social media within minutes of its release, saying "For 20 years, I have represented Davids vs. Goliaths and relied on due process and our system of justice".

"Along the way, I have made many powerful enemies", he said in an emailed statement. "I am entitled to a FULL presumption of innocence and am confident that justice will be done once ALL of the facts are known". Check back for updates.

They threatened to go public unless Nike hired Avenatti to conduct an internal investigation for $15 million to $25 million, and paid an additional $1.5 million to the client, according to prosecutors.

In the indictment, prosecutors allege Avenatti stole millions of dollars in settlement money from five clients.

US Attorney for the Central District of California Nick Hanna said at a news conference in Los Angeles on Thursday that much of Avenatti's misconduct was interrelated.

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Avenatti tweeted Thursday that he intends to fight all of the charges and says he looks forward to the truth being known, as opposed to what he characterizes as a "one-sided version".

Avenatti waived his right to a preliminary hearing in federal court in Santa Ana. Avenatti hid the win from the client and used the money to buy a $2.5 million private jet (the jet has since been seized by federal officers). In the NY case, Avenatti is accused of attempting to extort more than $20 million from sportswear company Nike.

The allegations involving Avenatti's disabled former client add an element of depravity to the criminal case. Trump has denied the affair.

Between September 2015 and January 2018, Global Baristas US, the company that operated Tully's, failed to pay the Internal Revenue Service $3.2 million in payroll taxes, including almost $2.4 million withheld from employees, according to the indictment. The indictment also said Avenatti lied to the IRS about his taxes. Avenatti sued the County of Los Angeles on behalf of a client who suffered "severe emotional distress and several physical injuries, including paraplegia" from an unspecified incident, according to the indictment.

Prosecutors also gave examples of Avenatti's other alleged fraudulent behavior such as overstating resources of one of his law firms to obtain three loans totaling $4.1 million from a bank and repeatedly lying about income his he was receiving during bankruptcy proceedings. Prosecutors alleged Avenatti and his law firm received $1.36 million from the litigation. He's also defending himself on Twitter.

Hanna said the Avenatti case "has nothing to do with anything political or with anything else".

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