Michael Avenatti, the lawyer who has climbed to fame through his portrayal of the pornographic film star and producer Stormy Daniels in his battles with Donald Trump, was accused on Wednesday of stealing from her to finance his lavish lifestyle .
New York federal prosecutors say Avenatti used a doctoral document to divert about $ 300,000 that Daniels was supposed to get as an advance from a book deal, so he used the money for personal and work expenses. Only half of that money was returned, prosecutors said.
"As alleged, he lied to his client to keep his extravagant lifestyle, even to pay, among other things, a monthly payment for a Ferrari. Far from zealously representing his client, Avenatti, as alleged, instead engaged in total deception and theft, victimizing rather than defending his client, "said a statement from the US attorney's office for the southern district of New York.
Daniels is not named in the court's deposit, but the details of the case, including the date of publication of his book, indicate that you are the customer involved.
Avenatti has denied the charges in a variety of messages on Twitter.
"No money related to Mrs. Daniels has ever been stolen or abused. She received millions of dollars in legal services and we spent huge sums on expenses. She paid directly only $ 100.00 for everything she received. I don't see the # 39. "Now that a jury has heard the evidence," he wrote.
The charges are based on previous allegations of legal misconduct by Avenatti, which represented Daniels when he sued to be released by a non-disclosure agreement involving an alleged relationship with Trump in 2006.
Avenatti was previously indicted in New York with an attempt to extort up to $ 25 million from the sportswear giant Nike, threatening to report that the shoemaker paid high school basketball players to direct them to Nike-sponsored schools. And in Los Angeles, he is facing a federal accusation of multiple accounts that he claims he stole millions of dollars from customers, paid no taxes, committed bank fraud and lied during bankruptcy proceedings.
Avenatti has denied the charges against him on both coasts, saying he expects to be acquitted. The Los Angeles accusations carry a potential penalty of over 300 years in prison.
Daniels initially hired Avenatti to handle a lawsuit filed last year in which he sought to invalidate the non-disclosure agreement he had signed with then Trump's attorney Michael Cohen in exchange for $ 130,000.
The money should have bought his silence on an alleged relationship with Trump, which denies that it happened. In August, Cohen pleaded guilty to violating election campaign laws in connection with payment.
Avenatti used to boast of having dropped Trump and even expressed the idea that he should stand for the Democratic presidential nomination. His fortunes have changed since then.
Daniels first publicly raised concerns about Avenatti's conduct in November. In a statement, he said that Avenatti had made an effort to raise funds for his legal case without telling him. He also stated that he had filed a libel suit against Trump, in his name, against his wish.
At the time, Avenatti replied that he was still the "greatest champion" of Daniels.
The libel case initiated by Avenatti against Trump failed, with a judge ordering her to pay the president's legal fees.
In March, Daniels said he fired Avenatti a month earlier, after discovering that he had dealt with me in an extremely dishonest way. You did not elaborate.