Michael Avenatti Indicted on 36 Charges, Faces 335 Years in Prison
'Creepy Porn Lawyer' hit with 36 count indictment for tax fraud, perjury, theft and more
Infamous lawyer Michael Avenatti has been indicted on 36 counts of various charges and may be facing up to 335 years in prison if convicted, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The embattled "Creepy Porn Lawyer" was hit with 36 counts of fraud, perjury, failure to pay taxes, embezzlement, theft from a client, and other financial crimes by a federal grand jury in Santa Ana, California.
The move is a sweeping expansion of the criminal charges against Avenatti, who allegedly stole millions of dollars from five clients and used a tangled web of shell companies and bank accounts to cover up the theft, according to the grand jury's indictment that prosecutors will make public Thursday.
One of attorney Avenneti's alleged victims is Geoffrey Ernest Johnson, who is a mentally ill paraplegic living on a disability allowance who won a $4 million settlement of a suit against Los Angeles County.
According to the indictment, the money was wired to Avenatti in January 2015, but he hid the funds from Johnson for years.
Democrat Avenatti is also accused of taking a settlement from another client and using the money to buy a private jet for himself.
According to the LA Times, in 2017, Avenatti received $2.75 million in proceeds from another client’s legal settlement, but concealed that too, the indictment says.
The next day, he put $2.5 million of that money into the purchase of a private jet for Passport 420, LLC, a company he effectively owned, according to prosecutors.
At the time, Avenatti and his businesses owed millions of dollars in back taxes, the government claimed, and his Newport Beach law firm, Eagan Avenatti, was weeks from bankruptcy.
Federal agents seized the Honda HA-420 jet at Santa Barbara Airport on Wednesday under a court-approved warrant that remains under seal, said Thom Mrozek, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office in Los Angeles.
The breadth of Avenatti’s alleged crimes is clear in the maximum sentence he would face if convicted on all counts: 335 years in prison.
According to the GWP, in a completely separate federal case in New York, Avenatti faces up to 47 more years in prison if he is convicted on extortion charges — the indictment in New York is expected to be made public soon.
Avenatti was charged with trying to extort $20 million from Nike.
Lawyer Avenatti was thrust into the limelight when he represented porn star Stormy Daniels when she lost two of her lawsuits against President Trump, earning him the moniker "Creepy Porn Lawyer."
Daniels, real name Stephanie Clifford, now owes the president over $300,000 in legal fees.
Michael Avenatti fired off a few tweets after he was freed on a $300,000 bond Thursday morning.
For 20 years, I have represented Davids vs. Goliaths and relied on due process and our system of justice. Along the way, I have made many powerful enemies. I am entitled to a FULL presumption of innocence and am confident that justice will be done once ALL of the facts are known.— Michael Avenatti (@MichaelAvenatti) April 11, 2019
I intend to fully fight all charges and plead NOT GUILTY. I look forward to the entire truth being known as opposed to a one-sided version meant to sideline me.— Michael Avenatti (@MichaelAvenatti) April 11, 2019
Avenatti tweeted on Thursday that he has made “powerful enemies” along the way.
Avenatti maintained his innocence and vowed to fight the charges.