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BANGKOK 16 June 2019 03:58
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Trump antagonist Avenatti indicted for ripping offStormy Daniels, extorting Nike

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Trump antagonist Avenatti indicted for ripping offStormy Daniels, extorting Nike

By Jonathan Stempel

 

2019-05-22T215706Z_2_LYNXNPEF4L1VT_RTROPTP_4_USA-CRIME-AVENATTI.JPG

FILE PHOTO: Porn star Stormy Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, speaks to media along with lawyer Michael Avenatti (R) outside federal court in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., April 16, 2018. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson/File Photo

 

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Michael Avenatti's legal troubles escalated on Wednesday as federal prosecutors announced new indictments accusing the lawyer and prominent critic of U.S. President Donald Trump of ripping off porn star Stormy Daniels and extorting Nike Inc.

 

Prosecutors in Manhattan accused Avenatti, 48, of stealing about $300,000 from Daniels, the client who made him famous, to fund an extravagant lifestyle including a Ferrari automobile, after helping her secure a book contract.

 

The Nike indictment concerns charges announced in March that Avenatti tried to extort more than $20 million from the athletic wear company by threatening to expose what he called its improper payments to recruits for college basketball teams it sponsored.

 

Avenatti also faces dozens of charges in southern California, where prosecutors on April 11 accused him of stealing millions of dollars from clients to pay for personal and business expenses, and lying to the Internal Revenue Service and a Mississippi bank about his finances.

 

If convicted on all charges, Avenatti could face more than 400 years in prison, but would likely face a lesser punishment.

 

Nike has denied wrongdoing, and assisted prosecutors prior to Avenatti's arrest.

 

Avenatti has maintained his innocence and said the earlier prosecutions were to punish him for representing Daniels and criticizing Trump.

 

Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, received hush money to keep quiet about an affair she claimed to have had with Trump in 2006. The president has denied having had sex with Daniels.

 

"I look forward to a jury hearing all of the evidence and passing judgment on my conduct," Avenatti wrote on Twitter after the indictments were announced.

 

"At no time was any money misappropriated or mishandled. I will be fully exonerated once the relevant emails, contracts, text messages, and documents are presented."

 

He later said in an email that Daniels had received "millions of dollars worth of legal services."

 

Lawyers for Avenatti did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Daniels could not immediately be reached.

 

BOOK ADVANCE

Avenatti represented Daniels in lawsuits arising from a $130,000 hush money payment from former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen shortly before the 2016 presidential election.

 

Prosecutors said Avenatti diverted two $148,750 installment payments from Daniels' $800,000 book advance, after sending her literary agent a letter that forged her signature, and directed that money be sent to his bank account.

 

Daniels is identified in court papers as "Victim-1." A person familiar with the matter who was not authorized to speak publicly confirmed her identity.

 

According to the papers, Avenatti spent some of the diverted funds on lease payments for the Ferrari, hotels, airfare, restaurant meals, car service and business expenses.

 

Prosecutors said Avenatti eventually paid $148,750 to Daniels after obtaining the money from another source, but lied when she asked where the second payment was by telling her the publisher "owes me a payment" and that he was "on it."

 

Daniels has not received that payment, prosecutors said. She dropped Avenatti as her lawyer earlier this year.

 

"Michael Avenatti abused and violated the core duty of an attorney--the duty to his client," U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman, who announced Wednesday's indictments, said in a statement.

 

"Far from zealously representing his client, Avenatti, as alleged, instead engaged in outright deception and theft, victimizing rather than advocating for his client," Berman added.

 

The charges related to Daniels include one count of wire fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft, and carry a maximum combined penalty of 22 years in prison.

 

Daniels' book "Full Disclosure" was published in October.

 

Cohen is two weeks into his three-year prison term after pleading guilty to campaign finance violations, including the hush money payment.

 

Avenatti became a familiar face on cable news channels as his stature grew, and flirted last year with a 2020 White House run. He has had a lower profile since being charged.

 

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

 

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-- © Copyright Reuters 2019-05-23
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Trump, Avenatti, Stormy Daniels - USA in real life.

And some people still think the USA is the leader of the world. 555

 

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31 minutes ago, OneMoreFarang said:

Trump, Avenatti, Stormy Daniels - USA in real life.

And some people still think the USA is the leader of the world. 555

 

Absolutely true. But that's only half the story. The other side has their own cast of slimeball charlatans as well. Many people will see one of these two groups as the "lesser evil", but that's way wrong thinking.

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He poked the bear, bad idea.

 

The Nike thing seems legit, but again, not a good idea to take on a gazillion dollar business, the NCAA and not Nike.

 

Anyone who thinks college athletics is somehow "clean" is probably best left in their denial bubble.

 

 

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4 hours ago, Chomper Higgot said:

Stormy Daniel’s case brought by Avennatti was pivotal in opening the investigation into Cohen.

 

Is Avenatti a crook, the court will decide.

 

Has he played a significant role in exposing crime within Trump’s organizations, the courts have already affirmed that.

 

Cohen is still assisting investigations.

 

 

As much as I hate Trump and most of what he stands for, but this rat deserves locking up, hope he spends the rest of life behind bars so he can not benefit from his ill gotten gains.

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6 minutes ago, Basil B said:

As much as I hate Trump and most of what he stands for, but this rat deserves locking up, hope he spends the rest of life behind bars so he can not benefit from his ill gotten gains.

I think there’s the small matter of a trial first.

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15 minutes ago, Chomper Higgot said:

I think there’s the small matter of a trial first.

you are right but I still believe in "no smoke without fire" even though I know it is possible.

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1 hour ago, Basil B said:

As much as I hate Trump and most of what he stands for, but this rat deserves locking up, hope he spends the rest of life behind bars so he can not benefit from his ill gotten gains.

Actually, it's surprising this crook did not work for Trump in the first place. He seems to exhibit all the required characteristics 😁

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8 hours ago, Chomper Higgot said:

It’s immensely encouraging to hear financial crimes being taken so seriously and warranting such severe penalties.

His only way out is now to get himself elected as President of the USA and appoint William Barr as attorney general😂

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