connectVideoThe rise and fall of the famous lawyer Michael Avenatti
Avenatti became a household name thanks in no small part to his endless exposure on CNN and MSNBC; Fox News media analyst Howard Kurtz reports.
Controversial lawyer Michael Avenatti a busy day in Manhattan federal court on Tuesday — but as a defendant, not as a consultant.
Avenatti, 49, is scheduled to be arraigned on charges that he tried to extort $25 million from athletic apparel giant Nike threatened to expose claims that the shoemaker paid off high school basketball players in order to send them to the Nike-sponsored colleges. He is also scheduled to be arraigned on charges that he stole nearly $300,000 from the adult film actress Stormy Daniels, the customer who shot him to national prominence.
In the Nike case, Avenatti is charged with one count of extortion, one count of sending interstate communications with intent to extort, and two counts of conspiracy. In the Stormy Daniels case, he is accused of one count of wire fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft. If convicted on all points, Avenatti could be faced with a total of 69 years in prison.
MICHAEL AVENATTI INDICTED ON SUSPICION OF DEFRAUDING THE EX-CLIENT STORMY DANIELS, IDENTITY THEFT
Avenatti, repeatedly denies any wrongdoing and is expected to plead not guilty to all charges. He initially was arrested on 25 March at a New York law firm where he had a meeting with Nike executives.
Six days earlier, prosecutors said, Avenatti and a co-conspirator identified by several news outlets as a celebrity lawyer Mark Geragos met with lawyers for Nike on 19 March and “threatened to release harmful information” as the company did not agree with the creation of multi-million dollar payments to them, as well as an additional $1.5 million payment to a California youth basketball coach Avenatti claimed to represent.
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Lawyer charged with stealing $300,000 from Stormy Daniels.
According to the government Avenatti threatened to hold a press conference on the eve of Nike’s quarterly earnings call and the start of the NCAA tournament to announce allegations of misconduct by Nike employees, at a given moment to tell Nike’s lawyers he would “take ten billion dollars out of your client’s market cap… I’m not f—power-up source”
MICHAEL AVENATTI ACCUSED OF TRYING TO EXTORT NIKE FOR UP TO $25M, FEDS SAY
Avenatti was indicted formally in the Nike case last Wednesday. On the same day, prosecutors indicted him in the Daniels case, in which they claimed that they Avenatti stole two payments of a total of $297,500 of a pre-Daniels was supposed to be a book to go in the summer of 2018.
Court documents said Avenatti gave Daniels’ literary agent, a fake letter with her signature to the guidance of the agent for diverting the money to an account that is controlled by Avenatti. The lawyer then allegedly spent the money “on airline tickets, hotels, car, services, restaurants and meal delivery, online retailers, payroll for his law firm and other things that he owned, and insurance.”
Michael Avenatti hit with new federal charges
Fbi charges Michael Avenatti with fraud, aggravated identity theft involving former client Stormy Daniels; Jacqui Heinrich reports from New York.
The indictment said that after Daniels asked Avenatti why she had not received the first payment, Avenatti falsely claimed he was still trying to get the money from the publisher. Weeks later, the lawyer of the alleged “used funds recently received from another source” to pay Daniels the amount that it was owed — $148,750.
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Shortly after, the public prosecutor said Avennatti received a payment of $148,750 of Daniels’ agent, and used the money on personal expenses, including a lease payment on a Ferrari. When Daniels asked for the remaining money, Avenatti allegedly misled her to believe that the book from the publisher refuses to pay the amount to Daniels’ literary agent.
Avenatti legal issues are hard, but his problems are not limited to New York.
In March, federal prosecutors in Southern California accused Avenatti of committing fraud and wire fraud by embezzling scheme money from five clients, including a paralyzed man, to pay personal expenses and debts — as well as those of his coffee business and law firm.
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According to the Prosecutor of the V. S. Nick Hanna, Avenatti also obtained $4.1 million in loans from a Mississippi river bank by the use of fraudulent declarations which he made over $14 million between 2011 and 2013 and had paid more than $1 million in estimated taxes to the TAX authorities in 2012 and 2013. In fact, researchers have said Avenatti owed the IRS $850,438 plus interest and penalties for the years 2009 and 2010, paid no personal taxes for 2011, 2012 and 2013 and paid no estimated taxes in 2012 and 2013.
If convicted of all 36 counts in the lawsuit in California, Avenatti faces up to 335 years in prison.