I think it was a wise choice on famed lawyer Michael Avenatti’s part to not run for the presidency in 2020. As it stands now, the man who was made most famous by representing porn star and actress Stormy Daniels in a case against now-President Donald Trump is about to be disbarred for being a risk to his clients.
The State Bar of California is asking a judge to prevent Avenatti from ever practicing law again, as he has allegedly stolen millions from his clients, as well as knowingly participated in “deceit, dishonesty, and lies.”
As AP News reports, “Attorney Eli Morgenstern said Avenatti poses a threat to clients and the public if he continues to perform legal work. The bar is seeking to put Avenatti on involuntary inactive status, and Morgenstern said it is likely he will eventually be disbarred.”
“Avenatti, who separately faces federal criminal charges, denounced the hearing as a ‘dog and pony show’ and a ‘complete joke.’ The lawyer is best known for representing porn actress Stormy Daniels in lawsuits against President Donald Trump, faces charges in New York of trying to extort millions of dollars from Nike and stealing from Daniels. He faces trials in California on charges he cheated on his taxes and embezzled millions from clients.”
And while any one of those accusations should be enough to disbar Avenatti, none of them are what the State Bar of California is using to do so.
Instead, they are solely using another criminal charge, one that accuses him of stealing $1.6 million from another former client.
CBS Los Angeles says, “In the bar proceeding, Avenatti is only accused of stealing from one client, Gregory Barela, for whom he negotiated a $1.9 million settlement in an intellectual property dispute.”
The outlet continues stating, “Avenatti stole all but $609 of the initial $1.6 million payouts made in January 2018, Morgenstern said. He said bank records support the allegations. Barela said Avenatti never told him the money had been received and gave him the runaround as he desperately racked up debts trying to run a construction supply business and another startup.”
Naturally, Avenatti doesn’t have a very high opinion of either the proceedings or his former client.
ABC News explains that “Avenatti said the only witness against him in the bar proceeding, a former client, is a ‘career criminal with a history of lying.’ ‘The entire thing is going to be shown to be politically motivated,’ Avenatti told reports before the hearing started in Los Angeles.”
It’s pretty much the end of his career, no matter what. I don’t know anyone in their right mind who would want to hire a lawyer who has been accused of so much, with probable evidence to back it up.
But Avenatti could be somewhat correct. This particular proceeding could be pretty much a ‘dog and pony show’ as this is not the only hearing he has been forced to attend in recent months to keep himself out of jail.
He just plead ‘not guilty’ to charges of extortion against Nike, in which the lawyer supposedly demanded hush money to not speak out against payoffs to high profile athletes.
According to Reuters, “Michael Avenatti pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to an indictment accusing him of trying to extort as much as $25 million from Nike Inc (NKE.N) by threatening to go public with claims the company made improper payments to athletes.”
“Clasping his hands behind his back, the celebrity lawyer, who gained fame representing porn actress Stormy Daniels in a lawsuit against U.S. President Donald Trump, said ‘not guilty’ after U.S. District Judge Paul Gardephe read each of the three counts against him in the Manhattan federal court.”
And while he had plenty to say about his previous hearing in California being a joke, this one received no comment from Avenatti afterward.
If he is found to be guilty at trial for this, it won’t only be the end of Avenatti’s career but his freedom. All the money in the world won’t be enough to get him out of this mess, not that he will have much left after all of these trials and proceedings. It’s not like he has had the time to actually make any honest money lately, as he has been wrapped in defending himself for much of the year.