Avenatti arrested for violating terms of pretrial release

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Federal authorities arrested Stormy Daniels’s former lawyer Michael Avenatti for violating the terms of his pretrial release. 

Authorities from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California arrested Avenatti during a break from his disciplinary hearing, in which the State Bar of California accused the lawyer of scamming a client out of $840,000 for his personal use, The Daily Beast reported.

The federal authorities are prosecuting him for a separate criminal matter in Orange County and took him into custody at about 6 p.m. PST.

Avenatti’s criminal lawyer Dean Steward confirmed his arrest to The Hill in an email, saying the arrest warrant is under seal, and a bail hearing will occur Wednesday morning in front of Judge James Selna.

Thom Mrozek, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office in Los Angeles, confirmed to The Daily Beast that the attorney was arrested for violating his pretrial release terms but declined to provide details.

“I do expect him to appear in federal court in Santa Ana tomorrow,” he said, according to the news outlet.

After resuming from the break, Avenatti’s lead counsel Thomas Warren told the court that his client would not be returning due to a criminal matter in Santa Ana, Calif.

Avenatti reportedly said, “Completely innocent” as he was taken into custody.

Avenatti is facing multiple charges in Los Angeles and New York, including accusations of extortion, taking millions of dollars from clients, cheating on taxes and lying to investigators.

Geoffrey Berman, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, informed the judge in the New York case of Avenatti’s arrest in a notice obtained by Reuters.

Avenatti is also charged with attempting to extort Nike by claiming he had evidence that the shoe company made illegal payments to its athletes.

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