"Authorities charge that Avenatti threatened to hold a news conference on the eve of the NCAA college basketball tournament to reveal damaging allegations against Nike unless it paid his client $1.5 million and agreed to hire Avenatti and another lawyer for $15 million to $25 million to conduct an "internal investigation" into the purported allegations".
Avenatti allegedly built a "financial house of cards" using his stolen millions to fund his lavish lifestyle, U.S. Attorney Nick Hanna said at a press conference Thursday.
As they say, a grand jury will indict a ham sandwich, so Avenatti still has the opportunity to tell his side of the story to a jury.
The case is U.S. v. Avenatti, 19-mj-241, U.S. District Court, Central District of California (Santa Ana).
Avenatti was also charged with concealing Eagan Avenatti assets from the federal court that oversaw its bankruptcy in 2017 and 2018.
He lost both of her lawsuits, and Daniels now owes the president almost $300,000 in legal fees, more than double the $130,000 in hush money that Trump paid her to keep quiet about their alleged 2006 affair.
As a result, that client was unable to purchase a house he sought.More news: Dirk Nowitzki Announces He's Retiring from NBA After 21 Seasons
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Avenatti had denied the accusations in a series of posts on social media on April 11. Avenatti told his client that these payments were "advances" on the settlement.
In 2017, Avenatti received $2.75 million in proceeds from another client's legal settlement, but concealed that too, the indictment says.
Avenatti responded on Twitter, writing that "for 20 years, I have represented Davids vs. Goliaths and relied on due process and our system of justice. I am entitled to a FULL presumption of innocence and am confident that justice will be done once ALL of the facts are known", he said. He responded "no" when he was asked whether Eagan Avenatti had received legal fees when it was representing ticket holders who sued the National Football League over seating snafus at the 2011 Super Bowl in Texas. Prosecutors alleged Avenatti and his law firm received $1.36 million from the litigation.
Avenatti also allegedly submitted false information to financial institutions for several loans, including a 2011 tax return noting his adjusted gross income for that calendar year of approximately $4.6 million.
Lawyers for Avenatti did not immediately return calls for comment on the statement.
Between September 2015 and January 2018, Global Baristas US, the company that operated Tully's, failed to pay the IRS $3.2 million in payroll taxes, including almost $2.4 million withheld from employees, the indictment said.
Avenatti also involved himself in the investigation of sexual abuse charges against R&B singer R. Kelly by giving the Chicago state's attorney's office what he said was a tape of the performer having sex with an underage girl.
He continued, "I intend to fully fight all charges and plead NOT GUILTY".