Disgraced lawyer/carnival barker Michael Avenatti pleaded not guilty Tuesday to charges he stole nearly $300,000 from aging porn star Stormy Daniels, bilking her by using her forged signature to divert two advance payments for her memoir.
Avenatti, 48, appeared in Manhattan federal court for the first of three scheduled afternoon proceedings involving the Daniels case and another in which he’s accused of trying to shake down Nike for more than $20 million.
At his first court appearance Tuesday, Avenatti, who remains free on a $300,000 personal recognizance bond, was ordered by U.S. District Judge James Cott to have no contact with Daniels, whom he represented last year in connection with her various legal battles against President Donald Trump.
Avenatti additionally had his travel restricted by Cott, who told the attorney to stay within the Central District of California, which includes the lawyer’s residence in Los Angeles, in New York City, or in the Big Apple’s surrounding counties in lower New York state.
If he wants to travel elsewhere within the United States, Avenatti first must notify federal authorities.
His not guilty plea was entered on his behalf by his lawyer, Sylvie Levine, while Avenatti looked on.
Avenatti has denied wrongdoing in all of the cases.
In a statement after he was charged in the Daniels case, Avenatti denied bilking her, saying: “No monies relating to Ms. Daniels were ever misappropriated or mishandled.”