Celebrity attorney Michael Avenatti is in a lot of hot water, but he now says that’s only because he became a threat to President Donald Trump.
“The government didn’t begin to look at charging me criminally until I became one of the biggest threats, if not the biggest threat, to the president of the United States, and anyone who thinks differently is a fool,” Avenatti told Vanity Fair in an interview.
Avenatti, you may recall, has been charged with numerous crimes by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California and the Southern District of New York – hardly places friendly to Trump.
In New York, Avenatti was accused of attempting to extort athletic company Nike, The Daily Wire previously reported. The famous attorney and one-time, media-fueled potential Democratic presidential contender allegedly told Nike attorneys he had a client claiming they were paying high school basketball players. Avenatti allegedly told Nike they could either pay him to walk away, or “retain” him for between $15 million and $25 million to investigate the alleged payments. In addition, Avenatti allegedly demanded his client be paid $1.5 million.
Avenatti allegedly told the company that if they didn’t pay he would hold a press conference that would “take ten billion dollars off your client’s market cap.” Avenatti claimed, “I’m not f***ing around.”
In California, Avenatti was charged with embezzlement, fraud, perjury, and failing to file and pay income taxes. Avenatti allegedly kept more than $12 million his clients won without paying them what they were owed and allegedly filed fake tax returns in order to secure millions of dollars in bank loans. He also allegedly lied about the bankruptcy involving his law firm Eagan Avenatti.
Keep in mind that California and New York are deeply blue states and outside of Attorney General William Barr, the Department of Justice is in no way friendly toward Trump.
How the charges against Avenatti could be retaliation for his threat to the president’s re-election challenges are mind boggling.
As for the actual charges against Avenatti, he told Vanity Fair that he would be cleared.
“I look forward to all of the documents and all of the facts coming to light when it comes to the allegations set forth,” he told the outlet.
“The facts, in reality, are not as clear-cut as the government has made them out to be,” he added.
The Vanity Fair article was published on Tuesday. Avenatti has since been charged by federal prosecutors with impersonating his client, believed to be Stormy Daniels, in order to keep money owed to her for her book deal.
“As alleged, AVENATTI used misrepresentations and a fraudulent document purporting to bear his client’s name and signature to convince his client’s literary agent to divert money owed to AVENATTI’s client to an account controlled by AVENATTI. AVENATTI then spent the money principally for his own personal and business purposes,” the DOJ wrote when announcing the charges.
The Vanity Fair article also revealed that networks were aware of Avenatti’s bad behavior, but put him on TV anyway because he said what they wanted to hear. One “prime-time anchor” told Vanity Fair that Avenatti was cruel to bookers and people behind the scenes, threatening to “bury” them “if he didn’t like something.” He also apparently shouted at a reporter on a cable set because he didn’t like what she wrote about him.