California, United States. /
It is expected that Michael Avenatti, the brash attorney recently sentenced to two and a half years in prison for a $ 25 million extortion case in New York, faces trial Wednesday in California for charges of embezzling millions of your customers.
Opening statements are scheduled in Santa Ana at this month’s second trial for Avenatti, who once represented the porn actress. Stormy Daniels in his lawsuit against the president Donald Trump. Avenatti is expected to represent himself in the case after US District Court Judge James V. Selna granted his request to do so on Tuesday.
Federal prosecutors in Southern California have charged the 50-year-old attorney, who is currently suspended from practicing law in California, with misleading five of his nearly $ 10 million clients by negotiating and collecting settlement payments on his behalf. and channel them to accounts. controlled.
Frauds and other accusations against Avenatti
In one case, authorities said Avenatti collected $ 4 million from Los Angeles County for a man who suffered injuries in custody and was left paraplegic after a suicide attempt. Avenatti denied the settlement was received and paid the man much smaller amounts ranging from $ 1,000 to $ 1,900, which he said were advances on the broader settlement, prosecutors said in court documents.
In another case, Avenatti collected a settlement payment of $ 2.75 million for a customer and used most of the money to purchase a private jet, according to the documents.
Avenatti faces 10 counts of wire fraud in connection with the allegations, spanning from 2015 to 2019.
He also faces charges in California for bankruptcy, bank and tax fraud. He is expected to be tried on those charges later this year after Selna split a 36-count indictment over two trials.
California authorities seek other witnesses to conclude the case
In this trial, federal prosecutors said they expect to take three weeks to present their case and call about 30 witnesses. The United States attorney’s office in Los Angeles declined to comment before opening statements.
Avenatti rose to fame by publicly confronting Trump, but criminal fraud charges in California and New York interrupted his rapid rise. He was sentenced in New York after being convicted of attempted extortion and other charges in connection with his representation of a Los Angeles youth basketball league organizer who was upset that Nike his league sponsorship had ended.
Avenatti explored running against Trump in 2020, but his political aspirations evaporated when he was criminally charged. He pleaded not guilty to all charges and maintained that he was the victim of politically motivated attacks.
Avenatti is currently suspended from practicing law in California, according to the State Bar of California.