Meta Tag: A judge concluded based on technicalities that federal prosecutors failed to turn over relevant evidence against Michael Avenatti over its embezzlement case.
Lawyer Michael Avenatti’s embezzlement case in which he was accused of stealing almost $10 million in settlement funds from his clients, was declared a mistrial by a federal judge in the state of California. Judge James Selna, a U.S Orange County District judge stated that federal prosecutors failed to disclose information relative to a law firm server that included a database that records costs and expenses in connection with cases.
After Avenatti raised the issue last week, the judge agreed that the information should have been disclosed and declare a mistrial. And the failure of prosecutors to disclose the information was a blunder, finding no misconduct or malice. The counsel for Avenatti did not quickly comment but sure the lawyer celebrated the news outside the conference room.
As Michael Avenatti states, “This has been an incredibly difficult journey for my family, for my children, for my friends, and lastly, for me. I am extremely thankful to Mr. Steward, Ms. Cummings Cefali, and our entire team for standing by me and advocating tirelessly on my behalf.” He also stated that that day is a great day for the rule of law in the United States of America.
Accordingly, a hearing is scheduled for September. Prosecutors contend that from the years 2015 to 2019, Avenatti stole approximately $10 million in settlement funds from several clients like Alexis Gardner, Michelle Phan, Geoffrey Johnson, Long Tran, and Gregory Barela.
To add to those allegations, Avenatti is facing charges of tax and bank fraud, and bankruptcy in California. Later this year, it is anticipated that these counts will be tried. That is after the judge split a 36-count indictment into two trials.
Not only that but he is also accused of defrauding a former film actress that goes by the name Stormy Daniels. It was said that Daniels had an extramarital affair with former President Donald Trump several years ago. The complaint alleges that Daniels was expected to obtain two (2) payments of $148,750 but Avenatti instead possesses the money sent to funds he managed. Public prosecutors accused him of spending the said money sparingly, including purchases on luxury cars such as Ferrari. Hence, the lawyer pleaded not guilty.
Further, in July, Avenatti was sentenced to 2 12 in prison in an extortion case involving Nike. It was found out by the federal investigators that the lawyer was representing a youth basketball coach in Los Angeles who claimed to know information that Nike employees came up with illegal discreet payments to top high school basketball players. The lawyer then threatened to destroy the reputation of Nike as well as its stock price unless the latter will pay him millions of dollars.