Court Battles

Avenatti to plead guilty to stealing millions in California case

Disgraced attorney Michael Avenatti plans to plead guilty to multiple charges in a California case accusing him of stealing millions of dollars from clients, according to a new court filing.

In court documents filed Sunday in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, Avenatti’s legal team said the incarcerated attorney will plead guilty to multiple counts in the case, which accuses him of defrauding a bank and stealing $10 million in settlement funds between 2015 and 2019 from at least five clients.

Avenatti, who is currently serving a prison sentence after he was convicted in two separate cases, wants to plead guilty to “accept responsibility,” his legal team wrote in the filed court document.

“Defendant has been unable to reach a plea agreement with the government,” attorneys wrote. “Mr. Avenatti wishes to plea in order to be accountable; accept responsibility; avoid his former clients being further burdened; save the Court and the government significant resources; and save his family further embarrassment.”

Federal prosecutors charged Avenatti, 51, with wire fraud and bank fraud in March 2019 for allegedly embezzling a client’s money and defrauding a bank with phony tax returns to obtain loans.

The scope of the investigation has since expanded, charging the former attorney with a total of 36 counts. Avenatti faces decades in prison for the charges.

Last year, a judge declared a mistrial in the case after prosecutors failed to pass along relevant financial information to Avenatti.

According to court documents, a new jury trial had been set for the first 10 counts in July before Avenatti filed with the indication he would plead guilty.

Avenatti first rose to fame when he represented adult-film actress Stormy Daniels in her defamation suit against former President Trump.

The lawyer was later charged with stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars in book proceeds from Daniels and was sentenced earlier this month to four years in prison in the case.

Avenatti is also serving a 2 1/2-year sentence for attempting to extort Nike out of millions of dollars.

Tags California Embezzlement Guilty plea Michael Avenatti Michael Avenatti

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