The Jury Talks Back

5/22/2019

Federal Grand Jury Indicts Michael Avenatti Today

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dana @ 3:33 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Michael Avenatti was indicted in Manhattan today:

Embattled lawyer Michael Avenatti has been charged with fraud and aggravated identity theft for allegedly snatching a total of $300,000 from Stormy Daniels and spending it on personal expenses like airfare, hotels, and restaurant delivery, and to bankroll his law firm.

Federal prosecutors in New York announced the latest charges against the Newport Beach litigator soon after ABC News reported Avenatti was expected to be charged with additional financial crimes. The 48-year-old lawyer faces a slew of charges on both coasts, including wire fraud, bank fraud, and extortion.

On Wednesday, a grand jury also indicted Avenatti for trying to extort the footwear giant Nike to the tune of $25 million, and the Daniels charges are separate from that case.

“Michael Avenatti abused and violated the core duty of an attorney—the duty to his client,” Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said in a 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.”

Federal prosecutors brought yet another set of charges against celebrity lawyer Michael Avenatti on Wednesday, this time alleging that he skimmed nearly $300,000 from Stormy Daniels, the adult actress he represented in a case against President Donald Trump.

Prosecutors in New York charged that Avenatti sent a fraudulent and unauthorized letter purporting to contain Daniels’ signature to her book agent instructing the agent to send payments to his bank account rather than to her.

The indictment, revealed on Wednesday afternoon, leaves Avenatti facing three sets of federal charges in two states. Prosecutors have also accused him of trying to extort money from shoemaker Nike and of stealing from clients in Los Angeles.

Popehat has an entertainingly informative overview of the charges and what Avenatti faces:

So SDNY indicted Avenatti in two separate indictments — one on the let’s-extort-Nike-and-Boies-Shiller-I-see-no-way-this-could-go-wrong gambol, and one for defrauding Stormy Daniels. That makes him the defendant in three simultaneous federal indictments, no mean feat.

Nobody else got indicted in either case for now, which is something that was being carefully watched by the sort of people who carefully watch this sort of thing.

However, the un-indicted co-conspirator, whose identity is widely known, remains described prominently in Avenatti’s indictment, remains in the zone of danger, and is currently in a condition commonly known as damp-pantsed.

In the Nike indictment, Avenatti is charged with conspiracy to transmit interstate communications to extort, conspiracy to extort, transmitting interstate extortionate communications, and extortion. But really with flying too close to the sun.

Some of Michael Avenatti’s tweets figure in his Nike indictment, characterized as part of the scheme, because of course they are.

Meanwhile, in the separate THIRD indictment faced by the man who called me and told me I would never amount to anything, Avenatti is accused of stealing some of Stormy Daniels’ (or “Victim-1″) advance on a book contract.

The third indictment alleges Avenatti used Stormy’s money to pay payroll for his firm, for his coffee business, for “insurance, hotels, car services, restaurant and meal delivery,” and for — wait for it — wait for it —-

— $1,900 to “Client-2″ in Los Angeles, who is almost certainly the client Avenatti is charged here in Los Angeles with ripping off. In other words, it appears the indictment charges that Avenatti stole money from Daniels to make lulling payments to a different victim.

This is EXACTLY why you need a good accountant.

The third indictment — the one about Stormy Daniels, not to be confused with the federal indictment about trying to extort Nike or the one about protracted tax dipshittery — describes Avenatti’s lulling communications to Stormy Daniels in detail.

When Daniels asked unjustifiably politely where her book advance was Avenatti responded in a very brief, unsatisfactory, and perfunctory fashion, which no doubt [REMAINDER OF JOKE DELETED]

Anywho, in Federal Criminal Indictment 3/3 Avenatti’s charged with wire fraud and aggravated identify theft, but very unusually, not with conspiracy, possibly because there was literally nobody else in the world stupid enough to try this

Indictments are accusations by a government that responsible people should not trust or take at face value, and which should be vigorously tested by capable advocates, before neutral judges and juries who do not favor one side over the other, and also I should get a pony.

That said, like the SDCA indictment, the SDNY indictments lay out the receipts in a manner that suggest a case that will be extremely difficult to defend. Brah’s in trouble deep.

Avenatti continues to claim he is innocent of all charges and says he expects to be exonerated.

I want to take a minute to remember how the media lapped up all things Avenatti. The adoration was fueled by the wishful hope that the lawyer was the one anointed who would take down President Trump. Oddly, in as much as media outlets helped get President Trump elected by the fawning over him and providing him with far more airtime than any of other candidates, so too did the media help “create” the “folk hero” Avenatti and elevate him to ridiculous levels. Even going so far as to embarrassingly gush about his sartorial choices and alleged sex appeal. That the media helped push Avenatti into the public eye is reinforced also by a report that determined that the self-promoting lawyer was on television 254 times in the span of one year. Also, David Rutz of the Washington Free Beacon calculated that Aveantti “earned roughly $175 million in free media.” Congratulations, media, yet again.

This is my favorite cringe-worthy example of the media idol worship of Avenatti: Idiotic fangirls, CNN commentator Ana Navarro and The View’s Joy Behar deifying the cheap grifter. Clearly their hatred of Trump sucked away any semblance of discernment and rational thought (giving them the benefit of the doubt for having some in the first place):

“Lately, to me, you’re like the Holy Spirit. You are all places at all times. Right. I mean, I do — I see you all over cable news, I see — there’s a seat available if you want to be a co-host at ‘The View.’ There’s people here you can pitch. He’d be a great lady around the table” Navarro ranted.

“[Avenatti] has a bigger calling here. Being a lawyer is minimal compared to what he’s doing,” Joy Behar said.

Navarro interrupted, “The priesthood?”

Behar continued, “He’s out there saving the country.”

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)

–Dana

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