Federal prosecutors planned to hold a news conference Thursday to announce additional charges against attorney Michael Avenatti, including a 36-count grand jury indictment on tax charges.
Avenatti already is facing charges in Los Angeles and New York of bank fraud, misappropriating client funds, and trying to extort Nike.
U.S. Attorney Nick Hanna and IRS Criminal Investigation Acting Special Agent Ryan L. Korner will appear at the press conference.
Avenatti responded on Twitter, writing that “for 20 years, I have represented Davids vs. Goliaths and relied on due process and our system of justice. Along the way, I have made many powerful enemies. I am entitled to a FULL presumption of innocence and am confident that justice will be done once ALL of the facts are known.”
He continued, “I intend to fully fight all charges and plead NOT GUILTY. I look forward to the entire truth being known as opposed to a one-sided version meant to sideline me.”
Avenatti shot to overnight fame last year as the counsel for Stormy Daniels, the adult film actress who claims to have had sexual relations with President Donald Trump, and his bulldog approach to taking on the president and his legal team helped garner him endless spots on cable TV news shows. That was particularly the case as New York federal prosecutors uncovered an effort to silence Daniels in advance of the 2016 with hush money payments arranged by Trump’s then-attorney Michael Cohen. Avenatti even dangled the prospect of entering politics himself, even as a 2020 presidential contender, before abandoning the idea.
Last month, prosecutors in the Southern District of New York alleged that Avenatti tried to extract more than $20 million from Nike, and said if the company did not pay him, he would hold a press conference attacking the company.
In Los Angeles, prosecutors claim that Avenatti misused a $1.6 million client settlement to fund his coffee business, and also used the money to pay personal expenses. He also faces bank fraud charges related to $4.1 million in loans from a Mississippi bank.