Avenatti indictment alleges he stole millions from clients, didn't pay taxes

Federal prosecutors in California on Thursday announced charges against Michael Avenatti on 36 counts of perjury, fraud, failure to pay taxes and other financial crimes.

Avenatti, formerly the attorney to adult-film star Stormy Daniels in her lawsuit against President TrumpDonald John TrumpWHCA calls on Trump to denounce video depicting him shooting media outlets Video of fake Trump shooting members of media shown at his Miami resort: report Trump hits Fox News's Chris Wallace over Ukraine coverage MORE, was indicted late Wednesday. The U.S. Attorney's Office in the Central District of California made the indictment public Thursday.

ADVERTISEMENT

The indictment alleges that Avenatti stole millions of dollars from clients, did not pay taxes, committed bank fraud and lied during bankruptcy proceedings. The charges allege that the lawyer embezzled from several clients, including a paraplegic man.

U.S. Attorney Nick Hanna said during a news conference that each of the crimes Avenatti is accused of are linked to one another.

"Money generated from one set of crimes was used to further other crimes," Hanna said.

Avenatti said in tweets Thursday that he will plead not guilty and expects to be exonerated.

"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," he wrote.

"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," Avenatti added.

Avenatti, whose firm is based in southern California, was originally charged last month with bank and wire fraud and now faces expanded charges in the case. 

The same day he was hit with those original charges, prosecutors in New York charged him over allegations he threatened to harm Nike unless the company paid him millions of dollars. He later accused Nike of having "pulled a stunt" by having him arrested before he could go forward with allegations against the company.