Federal prosecutors say Avenatti used a doctored document to divert the money that Daniels was supposed to receive from a book deal
Disgraced attorney wants case transferred to California
California attorney and carnival barker Michael Avenatti returned to a New York court to face charges accusing him of cheating porn star Stormy Daniels out of $300,000 in a book deal over her memoir, “Full Disclosure.”
At his four-minute hearing Avenatti sought to set a schedule for filing a change of venue motion. The judge gave Avenatti until August 22 to file a motion spelling out why he thinks the case should be moved across the country.
Being Avenatti, naturally he gave a press conference after his court appearance but did not respond to a reporter’s question as to why he wants the case transferred to California, where he is also being sued by a paraplegic former client who says that Avenatti ripped him off. The presumption would be that he wants the case transferred to California because he lives there and mounting a defense would be less costly.
The pretrial hearing Tuesday was otherwise routine, covering when written arguments must be submitted and when evidence will be shared among attorneys.
The 48-year-old lawyer was also charged in late March with trying to extort up to $25 million from Nike by threatening to expose claims that the company paid the families of high school basketball players to get them to attend Nike-sponsored colleges. A trial in the Nike-related case is scheduled for Nov. 12. Avenatti denies all of the allegations.
The FBI allegedly became aware of a multi-million extortion scheme in which Avenatti used threats “of economic and reputational harm to extort Nike.” The complaint said Avenatti threatened to hold a news conference on the eve of Nike’s quarterly earnings call and the start of the NCAA tournament to announce allegations of misconduct by Nike employees.
In addition to the charges in the New York court, Avenatti is facing bank and wire fraud charges in Los Angeles for alleged embezzlement.
Avenatti has denied the allegations against him on both coasts, saying he expects to be exonerated. If convicted of the charges in California and New York, Avenatti could sped the rest of his life in prison.