The New York Times ran this yesterday, and I think it’s appropriate that we focus on one of “celebrity attorney”/carnival barker Michael Avenatti‘s alleged embezzlement victims for a moment (that is, other than aging porn star Stormy Daniels, who now owes the president $300,000) — a mentally ill paraplegic named Geoffrey Johnson.
A lawyer for a paralyzed man says his client is destitute after attorney Michael Avenatti embezzled most of his $4 million court settlement.
Attorney Joshua Robbins said Thursday that Geoffrey Johnson was only paid a fraction of the money Avenatti collected in 2015 from a lawsuit against the Los Angeles County jail.
A 36-count federal indictment charging Avenatti with wire, tax and bank fraud says he stole millions of dollars from Johnson and four other clients.
Avenatti has denied stealing from clients and tweeted a statement signed by Johnson praising him as an “honest and ethical attorney.”
Prosecutors says Avenatti told Johnson to sign the statement so he could collect his settlement money.
Robbins says he’s never seen a defendant tweet incriminating evidence on the day they were indicted.
This last point also struck (and astonished) me at the time, and I included a tweet about it in my first report on the 36-count federal indictment:
This is not a well man.
Pages of the federal indictment detailing Avenatti’s suspected embezzlement of Mr. Johnson may be found here.