Court Battles

Michael Avenatti found guilty of stealing thousands from Stormy Daniels

Michael Avenatti, who represented adult-film actress Stormy Daniels in a case against former President Trump, was found guilty on Friday of stealing thousands of dollars from his onetime client.

A jury convicted Avenatti of aggravated identity theft and wire fraud following deliberations that started on Wednesday, CNN reported

The former attorney to Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, was convicted of stealing close to $300,000 that Daniels was set to receive for writing her book, in which she discusses an affair she says she had with Trump. Trump has denied claims.

Avenatti denied that he had committed any wrongdoing. He said in his closing arguments that he was just being paid for his work and there was not sufficient evidence to prove he committed fraud.

He said prosecutors had not proven the allegations against him, so he would not testify in his own defense.

A judge approved Avenatti’s request to represent himself during the trial, after he said he had had a “breakdown” with his defense from the Federal Defenders of New York. It set up an unusual scenario in which Avenatti cross-examined his former client.

Daniels hired Avenatti as she sought to get out of a nondisclosure deal regarding the alleged affair weeks before the 2016 presidential election, The Associated Press reported.

Avenatti’s sentencing is scheduled for May 24, according to CNN. 

Updated at 4:02 p.m.

Tags Donald Trump Michael Avenatti Stormy Daniels

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