Disgraced lawyer Michael Avenatti is in a jam once again.
Adding to his laundry list of controversies, the embattled attorney was charged by federal prosecutors on Wednesday for stealing $297,500 from adult-film star and ex-client Stormy Daniels. The indictment also includes an identity theft charge.
The funny thing here is, Stormy Daniels is the client who put Avenatti on the map to begin with. Perhaps he should be crediting her for his fame, not defrauding her and stealing her identity.
Michael Avenatti was just charged with stealing over $300,000 from his client, Stormy Daniels
This is the same man CNN & MSNBC had on their networks to attack Trump 108 times in just 64 days—gaining him $175M in earned media
They even propped him up as a presidential candidate!
— Charlie Kirk (@charliekirk11) May 22, 2019
The 48-year-old attorney is currently facing one count of wire fraud and another count of aggravated identity theft.
Will this be the last we hear of Avenatti and his shady antics?
— Noah Shachtman (@NoahShachtman) May 22, 2019
According to Fox News:
Embattled attorney Michael Avenatti was charged by federal prosecutors in New YorkWednesday with defrauding adult-film star Stormy Daniels, the client who propelled Avenatti into the national spotlight.
Avenatti, 48, faces one count of wire fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft. He faces up to 22 years in prison if convicted of those charges. Daniels is not named in the indictment, but a federal law enforcement official confirmed to Fox News that she is the client prosecutors claimed Avenatti defrauded.
Avenatti rocketed to fame representing Daniels when she sued to be released from a non-disclosure agreement involving an alleged tryst with President Trump in 2006. He parlayed his notoriety into numerous cable news appearances and even was floated as a potential Democratic presidential candidate in 2020.
According to prosecutors, Avenatti stole two payments totaling $297,500 from an advance Daniels was supposed to receive from a book deal in the summer of 2018. According to the indictment, Avenatti sent a doctored letter with Daniels’ signature to her literary agent that instructed the agent to divert the money to an account controlled by Avenatti. The lawyer then spent the money “on airfare, hotels, car services, restaurants and meal delivery, online retailers, payroll for his law firm and another business he owned, and insurance.”
The indictment said that after Daniels asked Avenatti why she had not received the first payment, Avenatti falsely claimed he was still trying to extract the money from the publisher. Weeks later, the lawyer allegedly “used funds recently received from another source” to pay Daniels the amount she was owed — $148,750.
Soon after, prosecutors say that Avennatti received another payment of $148,750 from 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’s publisher was refusing to pay the amount to Daniels’ literary agent.
“Michael Avenatti abused and violated the core duty of an attorney – the duty to his client,” Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman told the public in an issued statement. “As alleged, he used his position of trust to steal an advance on the client’s book deal. As alleged, 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.”
This is but one of many cases involving Avenatti. Others include the defamation case against President Trump, which backfired royally, as well as the extortion case involving Nike back in March.
What else could go wrong with this guy?