Avenatti Has Run Out of Money to Pay Legal Costs, Lawyer Says

CHATSWORTH, Calif.—The precipitous fall of Michael Avenatti, the 49-year-old Southern California lawyer who shot to national fame two years ago by representing AVN Hall of Famer Stormy Daniels in her lawsuit against Donald Trump, continued this week.  As he faces sentencing on a conviction for attempted extortion, as well as trial on charges that he embezzled nearly $300,000 from Daniels, his own lawyer now says that Avenatti has run out of money. According to the July 18 court filing by lawyer Dean Steward, “Mr. Avenatti has run out of funds, and faces a complex trial lasting as long as six weeks,” in the Daniels case. Avenatti would be entitled to a public defender if he is unable to pay his own lawyer. But Steward in the filing told Judge James Selna that he would be willing to continue as Avenatti’s lawyer, accepting the reduced fees paid by the government to a court-appointed lawyer, saying it would save money. Appointing a new public defender would require that attorney to restart the case from scratch, costing additional time and cash, Steward said. “The retainer has long since run out and defendant does not have funds to pay counsel,” Steward wrote. He’s proposing to stay on as Avenatti’s lawyer and get paid under terms of existing rules for indigent clients. Keeping him on as Avenatti’s lawyer would “save considerable taxpayer funds, over starting fresh with new … counsel,” he said in the court document. Avenatti has run out of cash to pay his lawyers before, and was briefly represented by a federal public defender for a period during 2019.  The once-high-flying lawyer—who in 2018 was riding such a wave of public recognition and acclaim that he said he was planning a run for president in 2020—is accused of diverting nearly $300,000 from Daniels’ 2018 book advance into his own bank account, where he used the money for personal expenses and luxuries, according to prosecutors. He was convicted in February of attempting to extort $20 million from the Nike Corporation, but he is still awaiting sentencing on that charge. In April he was released from a New York jail due to concerns over COVID-19, and has been under home confinement while staying with a longtime friend in Venice, California. He has bee fighting prosecutor attempts to return him to jail after his initial 90-day release expired.  Earlier this month, a judge awarded Avenatti an additional 60 days out of jail, even though prosecutors alleged that he violated the terms of his release by using an internet-connected computer at the home of his friend Jay Manheimer, with whom he is staying. Photo By CNN YouTube Screen Capture 

written by: Lawrence Avery

source: Avenatti Has Run Out of Money to Pay Legal Costs, Lawyer Says | AVN

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