Michael Avenatti, former attorney for Stormy Daniels, has been indicted by a federal grand jury in California on 36 counts, including embezzling from a paraplegic, court documents show.
The indictment expands on a criminal complaint filed against Avenatti earlier in California and includes allegations of impropriety by Avenatti against former business partners and two additional clients. Officials with the Justice Department and the Internal Revenue Service were expected to share additional details on the indictment Thursday.
Avenatti faces charges of wire fraud, failure to collect and withhold payroll taxes, attempting to obstruct the IRS, failing to file tax returns, aggravated identity fraud, bank fraud and false testimony under oath during bankruptcy.
Avenatti wouldn’t comment beyond statements he made on Twitter.
“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,” he wrote Thursday.
The charge involving the paraplegic client states that Avenatti lied to his client several times, including telling him that L.A. County hadn’t paid him in a $4 million dollar settlement as a lump sum, which the county had. Avenatti allegedly depleted that money in a matter of months.
The new charges follow Avenatti’s arrest in New York last month for allegedly trying to shake down Nike for up to $25 million and on two counts of wire and bank fraud from Southern California, where his firm is based. Avenatti has said he expects to be cleared.
The attorney is best known for representing porn actress Stormy Daniels in lawsuits against President Donald Trump.
The charges are the latest major blow to a career that took off last year when Avenatti represented Daniels in her lawsuit to break a confidentiality agreement with Trump to stay mum about an affair they allegedly had.
Avenatti became one of Trump’s leading adversaries, attacking him on cable news programs and Twitter. At one point, Avenatti even considered challenging Trump in 2020.
But back home in California, his business practices had come under scrutiny from the IRS and a former law partner who was owed $14 million by Avenatti and the Eagan Avenatti firm, which filed for bankruptcy.