Michael Avenatti, the two-time convicted lawyer who represented the porn star, Stormy Daniels, during her legal battles against former U.S. President Donald Trump, offered on June 12th to plead guilty to the “several” criminal charges he is still facing in California.
Avenatti, 51, is already facing five years in prison after being found guilty in February of fraud and identity theft for embezzling nearly $300,000 in book proceeds intended for Daniels, and convicted in February 2020 of attempting to extort up to $25 million from Nike Inc.
He is potentially facing more than 300 years in prison on a total of 36 criminal charges in the California case, including allegedly stealing millions of dollars from customers, lying to the Internal Revenue Service and a bankruptcy court and defrauding a bank.
In a filing in federal court in Santa Ana, California, Avenatti said he intended to plead guilty “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.”
The file did not indicate how many or what charges Avenatti was seeking to plead guilty to.
He said he had been unable to work out a plea deal with prosecutors, in spite of his “substantial efforts” over the last 30 days, and that he wanted a court hearing.
A trial on the first 10 counts is set for July 26, after a mistrial last August. Attorney Avenatti is representing himself.
Both prosecutors and a spokesman for U.S. Attorney Tracy Wilkison in Los Angeles did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Dean Steward, an attorney advising Avenatti on his defense, declined to comment.
Avenatti has filed an appeal of his conviction and his 2 1/2 year sentence in the Nike case, and a notice of appeal of his four year sentence in the Daniels case. The sentences partially overlap which results in the five-year sentence.
The California case in question is U.S. v Avenatti, U.S. District Court, Central District of California, No. 19-cr-00061.
Meanwhile, Stormy Daniels was ordered to make a payment to Donald Trump, the former president of the United States almost $300,000 in legal expenses, according to a federal appeals court ruling on Friday.
According to CNBC, the 9th Appeals Court “ruled which had no jurisdiction over Daniels’ appeal of the attorneys’ costs issue because she failed to file a notice of appeal within a 30-day period of a federal court awarded the costs to Trump.”
“The appeals court also ruled that the same judge had appropriately imposed another $1,000 in fines against Daniels in the same decision that paid Trump attorneys’ fees,” according to the press release.
“Daniels owes Trump $292k in attorney fees,” Dhillon told reporter Meghann Cuniff, adding that the action was “pushed so vigorously by [Michael] Avenatti for motives that obviously did not benefit his client.” Daniels’ advocate, Clark Brewster, issued a statement in response to the judgment, claiming that his client’s former counsel, Michael Avenatti, contributed to the case’s failure by “failing to prepare a timely appeal in January of 2019” per report.