Michael Avenatti Charged With Defrauding Stormy Daniels
23 Mai, 2019, 02:08 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
Federal prosecutors in NY chargedMichael Avenatti with additional financial crimes Wednesday, including allegedly forging the signature of his former client Stormy Daniels and diverting almost $300,000 owed to her for a book advance into his own account, according to court records filed on Wednesday.
Avenatti "blatantly lied" and stole to maintain his "extravagant lifestyle", Berman said. Icarus attempted to escape the island he and his father were imprisoned on; Michael Avenatti, as already known from his 36-count indictment in California and criminal complaint in NY, had attempted to extort another mythology-adjacent entity, Nike, and allegedly shorted a paraplegic client of $4 million in settlement money.
In the Nike case, prosecutors said Avenatti threatened to release damaging information about the company if it didn't pay $1.5 million to a client who had the information.
"A month after diverting one payment of $148,750 into his own account, Avenatti allegedly used funds received from another source to pay" Daniels, prosecutors said in the statement.
According to the indictment, Avenatti's retainer agreement with Daniels states that he could receive fees for negotiating her book contract. The president has denied having had sex with Daniels.
Avenatti also tweeted that he expected the SDNY indictment but "will plead not guilty to ALL CHARGES" and looks "forward to the trial where I can begin to clear my name". However, Avenatti had reportedly told Daniels he would not accept any payment relating to her book. "She received millions of dollars worth of legal services and we spent huge sums in expenses".
At the time, Avenatti responded that he was still Daniels's "biggest champion". Daniels could not immediately be reached. A person familiar with the matter who was not authorized to speak publicly confirmed her identity.
But Avenatti insisted to her that the publisher had skipped those payments, the court docs claimed, using the money toward law firm payments, a lease payment on a Ferrari, dry cleaning, plane tickets, etc. Daniels eventually contacted her publisher directly about the money, and discovered Avenatti's rannygazoo, according to the indictment.
The indictment says he did so by sending Daniel's agent a "fraudulent and unauthorized letter" with a forgery of his client's signature and instructions to send the money to a bank account controlled exclusively by Avenatti.
In a subsequent statement to ABC News after the charges were filed, Avenatti again reiterated his innocence and said he was entitled to the money from the book advance. She dropped Avenatti as her lawyer earlier this year.
"Michael Avenatti abused and violated the core duty of an attorney - the duty to his client", said Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman. "Far from zealously representing his client, Avenatti, as alleged, instead engaged in outright deception and theft, victimizing rather than advocating for his client".
The charges related to Daniels include one count of wire fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft, and carry a maximum combined penalty of 22 years in prison.
Adult-film actress Stephanie Clifford, also known as Stormy Daniels, arrives with her attorney Michael Avenatti (L) at ABC studios to appear on The View talk show in New York City, New York, U.S. April 17, 2018.
As Daniels' attorney, Avenatti helped negotiate a $800K advance for the book "Full Disclosure", published last September.
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