When it came to allegations against POTUS Donald Trump by porn queen Stormy Daniels, a.k.a. Stephanie Clifford, attorney Michael Avenatti saw his golden opportunity to make a name for himself on the national stage.
But in the end, it looks like he’s the one who was trying to screw her over, figuratively speaking.
As ABC News reported Wednesday, federal prosecutors in New York City charged Avenatti with more financial crimes “including allegedly forging the signature of his former client…and diverting nearly $300,000 owed to her for a book advance into his own account,” according to court records.
Federal prosecutors are alleging that Avenatti then used the money he pilfered to make monthly payments on a Ferrari he owned, along with paying for dry cleaning, restaurant and hotel bills, and insurance for the employees of his defunct law firm.
ABC News notes further:
The new charges accuse Avenatti of misappropriating money that was supposed to be paid to Daniels when Avenatti was representing the adult film actress in her public battle against President Trump and his former attorney Michael Cohen.
“Avenatti used misrepresentations and a fraudulent document purporting to bear his client’s name and signature to convince his client’s literary agent to divert money owed to Avenatti’s client to an account controlled by Avenatti,” Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman said in a statement. “Avenatti then spent the money principally for his own personal and business purposes.”
Mind you, Avenatti has already been charged with attempting to extort Nike. In addition to charges related to Daniels, prosecutors also filed new allegations against Avanatti in that case on Wednesday as well.
As expected, Avenatti is denying everything. “No monies relating to Ms. Daniels were ever misappropriated or mishandled,” he told the news network in a statement. “She received millions of dollars worth of legal expenses and we expended huge sums in expenses. She directly poked only $100.00 (not a typo) for all that she received.”
But Berman said in a statement that wasn’t even close to being true. Prosecutors say they believe Avenatti forged Daniels’ signature on a document so he could divert money she was owed into his own account, leaving her with the view that the publishing house she contracted with for a book did not pay promised advances. (Related: Porn lawyer Michael Avenatti indicted by Feds on multiple counts of fraud, could serve 300-plus years in prison.)
“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 noted in the Justice Department statement. A week later, he diverted a second payment for the same amount into his own account.
Daniels fired Avenatti as her attorney late last year after a series of events:
— He flirted with a 2020 Democratic presidential bid (and spent a lot of time on TV) until poor polling led him to ‘reconsider;’
— He was hit with an allegation of domestic abuse (that was credible, though Los Angeles prosecutors choose not to follow through);
— As he considered his White House bid, he told Time magazine the Democratic Party’s nominee “better be a white male,” thus earning him allegations of being a racist;
— He represented a client during the Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court hearings named Julie Swetnick whose testimony was so bad it earned both of them a criminal referral to the Justice Department.
Not only did Daniels and Avanatti not win a defamation case against POTUS Trump, the president’s legal team filed a six-figure lawsuit against her to recover legal fees in November.
The Trump court documents say Daniels “filed this action, not because it had any merit, but instead for the ulterior purposes of raising her media profile, engaging in political attacks against the president by herself and her attorney, who has appeared on more than 150 national television news interviews attacking the President and now is exploring a run for the presidency himself in 2020.”