Stormy Daniels says she’s not shocked
A U.S. Attorney in Los Angeles says lawyer Michael Avenatti, a critic of President Donald Trump, could face up to 50 years in prison if convicted on wire and bank fraud charges. (March 25)
WASHINGTON – Porn star Stormy Daniels said Monday she was not surprised by the arrest of her former attorney Michael Avenatti and hinted there was more to know about his “dishonesty” that would come out soon.
Daniels, who hired Avenatti last year to represent her in a lawsuit against President Donald Trump and his former attorney Michael Cohen, reacted on Twitter to the news that he had been charged in two states on federal crimes ranging from a scheme to extort Nike to bank fraud.
“Knowing that I know now about Michael Avenatti, I am saddened but not shocked by news reports that he has been criminally charged today,” Daniels said in a statement. “I made the decision more than a month ago to terminate Michael’s services after discovering that he had dealy with me extremely dishonestly and there will be more announced to come.”
Federal prosecutors in two states revealed criminal charges Monday against Avenatti, accusing him of scheming to extort shoemaker Nike, embezzling money and defrauding a bank. Avenatti was arrested Monday afternoon in New
More: Michael Avenatti, lawyer who challenged President Trump, charged with extorting Nike, embezzlement and fraud
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In New York, federal prosecutors charged Avenatti with four counts of extortion and conspiracy for allegedly threatening to reveal what he claimed was evidence that Nike made improper payments to high school basketball players unless the company paid $1.5 million to one of his clients and $15 million to $25 million for him and an associate to conduct an investigation of Nike.
Separately, in Los Angeles, prosecutors charged Avenatti with embezzling a client’s money and defrauding a bank by using a fake tax return to obtain loans, a scheme they said had been going on for considerably longer.
Avenatti and Daniels, whose legal name is Stephanie Clifford, announced earlier this month that they were parting ways and he would no longer represent her in any legal cases. The split marked the end for the duo — who achieved celebrity status last year in their legal quest to free Daniels from a hush money agreement aimed at quieting her claims of an affair with Trump.
The split followed allegations by Daniels in November that Avenatti filed a lawsuit against her wishes and raised money for her legal defense without her permission.
Daniels said a defamation lawsuit filed against the president, one of several lawsuits the pair filed this year, was done “against my wishes” and she’s tried for months to get information about crowdfunding accounts he’d set up for her defense and has been met with silence.
“He has spoken on my behalf without my approval. He filed a defamation case against Donald Trump against my wishes,” Daniels said of the lawsuit, which she lost in October and was ordered to pay the president’s legal fees.
She continued: “He repeatedly refused to tell me how my legal defense fund was being spent. Now he has launched a new crowdfunding campaign using my face and name without my permission and attributing words to me that I never wrote or said.”
The pair later appeared to make up, at least temporarily.
After the two split, Avenatti, in a phone call with USA TODAY, said he wouldn’t elaborate on the reasoning behind them parting ways but said he was looking forward to the future.
“I have more business right now than I have in any time in my life, by a factor of 10,” Avenatti told USA TODAY. “I get 100 inquiries from prospective new clients a day.”
Avenatti had managed to stay in the spotlight since his representation of Daniels, most recently with his role in the R. Kelly sexual abuse saga. He also flirted with a run for president.
But over the last year, Avenatti has had his ups and downs. He was ridiculed for his representation of Julie Swetnick, who made a series of bombshell allegations against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh during his confirmation hearings this summer.
The allegations weren’t viewed as credible by a number of lawmakers. Many Democrats blamed Avenatti and his client for their role, saying they helped Kavanaugh and Republicans who wanted another conservative on the high court.
Soon after, Avenatti was arrested on suspicion of domestic violence after a fight with his girlfriend in California. Prosecutors declined to file official charges in the case.
Contributing: Kevin Johnson and Bart Jansen