On Tuesday evening, Michael Avenatti was rearrested by IRS agents for allegedly violating his bail term just days before the beginning of his subsequent federal trial, a Justice Department official said. The 48-year-old Michael Avenatti was the attorney, and he was the legal counsel for adult-film actress Stormy Daniels during her lawsuit against President Trump over a hush-money agreement.
Arrested For Violating The Bail Term
The attorney is accused of extorting the company, Nike, for up to $25 million and stealing millions of dollars from his clients for his benefits, among other charges. He was arrested while appearing before the State Bar Court in Los Angeles, in the middle of a disciplinary hearing claiming he took about $840,000 from a former client.
A spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office in Los Angeles, Thom Mrozek, confirmed that IRS agents arrested Avenatti on an “allegation of breaking the terms of his pretrial release.” He added that Avenatti is supposed to appear in federal court in Santa Ana, California, on Wednesday.
Mrozek said that “The reports are under seal, so I cannot give details on the allegations at this time.”
On Tuesday, a one-page letter was sent to Judge Paul G. Gardephe of the Southern District of New York by the federal prosecutors in Manhattan that they were informed by counterparts in Los Angeles that the authorities had issued an arrest warrant to arrest Avenatti and that he would soon be arrested. Sources reported that Avenatti was arrested during a break in testimony at the State Bar Court.
Judge Gardephe on Wednesday directed prosecutors to give him a letter, “explaining why it was required to arrest Michael Avenatti on bail breaking a week before his trial is scheduled to start and scheduled a phone interview for 11 am.”
Walking out of the courthouse on Tuesday at approximately 6 pm, the attorney, recognized for his opposition toward the president, only had a few words to offer, sources reported.
Avenatti said that he is “Completely innocent.”
Avenatti Stole Hundreds Of Dollar From Clients
A Los Angeles lawyer representing Gregory Barela, Steven E. Bledsoe, the man who claims the attorney stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from his lawsuit contract, said that Avenatti was “digging himself an even larger hole on the witness stand” in the State Bar process before his unexpected arrest.
“Tragically, Mr. Avenatti’s arrest will pause the State Bar disciplinary procedures, but it seems that losing his law license will be amongst the least of his problems,” Bledsoe said.
A California attorney representing Avenatti in two of his cases, H. Dean Steward, said that it was his knowledge that his client’s arrest on Tuesday “has something to do with violating a bail.”
Steward said that “Exactly what the circumstances are I do not know. But I am almost confident it has something to do with finances.”
Arrest Come Before A Federal Trial
Avenatti’s arrest comes as jury selection is set to start on Wednesday before the commencement of his federal trial on the Nike charges next week in Manhattan. In that case, Avenatti allegedly asked millions of dollars regarding allegations about the sports apparel behemoth giving high school basketball players to lead them toward college basketball programs sponsored by Nike. Nike has rejected any wrongdoing. The other federal trial concerning Avenatti, which accuses him of cheating clients for more than four years, is scheduled to begin in May.
Avenatti has pleaded not guilty to both the charges in New York and California, as well to allegations in Manhattan accusing him of cheating Daniels — who claimed that she had a physical encounter with Trump and was paid to be mute about it during the 2016 presidential campaign — over the proceeds from the adult star’s book deal. That case is also scheduled to start in May.