Michael Avenatti Indicted on 36 Federal Charges Including Tax Fraud and Theft

Celebrity lawyer Michael Avenatti arrives for his first hearing in Santa Ana federal court on bank and wire fraud charges

Prosecutors on Thursday said Avenatti, the lawyer who represented Stormy Daniels in her lawsuit against President Trump, had been hit with these charges in connected to alleged wire, tax, bank, and bankruptcy fraud. In one example in the indictment, Avenatti answered "no" under oath during the proceeding when asked if his firm received any fees from the Super Bowl NFL litigation.

Two years after the settlement was reached, Avenatti allegedly helped Johnson find a real estate agent to buy a house. In New York, Avenatti was accused of extorting Nike.

"It is lawyer 101", Hanna said.

Wednesday's indictment comes two weeks after federal prosecutors in Manhattan and Los Angeles charged Avenatti, who became a household name during his representation of adult-film actress Stephanie Clifford, known professionally as Stormy Daniels, almost simultaneously in two criminal cases.

"Along the way, I have made many powerful enemies", he said in an emailed statement.

After prosecutors announced plans for Thursday's press conference, Avenatti tweeted that he remains "confident that justice will be done once ALL of the facts are known".

Avenatti also involved himself in the investigation of sexual abuse charges against R&B singer R. Kelly by giving the Chicago state's attorney's office what he said was a tape of the performer having sex with an underage girl. But Avenatti denied to the client that the total settlement had already been paid, the indictment reads.

One of the clients included a man who won a $4 million settlement in 2015 from Los Angeles County after he became paraplegic in an unspecified incident, prosecutors said.

The indictments against Avenatti are for wire fraud, tax fraud, bank fraud and bankruptcy fraud.

Until last month, Avenatti had only provided $124,000 over 69 payments to Johnson, the indictment said. He allegedly sent the client occasional payments of no more than $1,900 and paid the rent for his assisted-living facility, while falsely telling the man that the money was an advance on the settlement, the US said.

Avenatti allegedly stole millions of dollars from five clients, including a paraplegic man, said U.S. Attorney Nicola Hanna. He even floated a possible presidential run.

On March 25, prosecutors in the Southern District of NY alleged that Avenatti tried to extract more than $20 million from Nike, and said if the company did not pay him, he would hold a press conference attacking the company.

Just before his arrest in NY, the embattled lawyer had posted plans to hold a press conference to unveil a case he claimed would show how "criminal conduct reached the highest levels of Nike".

As they say, a grand jury will indict a ham sandwich, so Avenatti still has the opportunity to tell his side of the story to a jury.

The case is U.S. v. Avenatti, 19-mj-241, U.S. District Court, Central District of California (Santa Ana).



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