In Orange County, attorney Michael Avenatti ordered to remain in custody after alleged bail violations

 In blog, Crime News: Los Angeles Daily News

In Orange County, attorney Michael Avenatti ordered to remain in custody after alleged bail violations

by Sean Emery

A federal judge has revoked high-profile attorney Michael Avenatti’s bail, ordering him to remain in custody as he faces multiple indictments in New York and Southern California.

A day after Avenatti was taken into custody in downtown Los Angeles, U.S. District Judge James Selna, during a Wednesday hearing at the federal courthouse in Orange County, ruled that there was enough probable cause to show that Avenatti may have broken the law while awaiting trial and poses a continuing danger to the community.

Prosecutors, in a motion for an arrest warrant that was unsealed on Wednesday morning, allege that Avenatti broke federal and state laws while he was released on bond by hiding $1 million from his creditors, including an ex-wife and former law partner.

Avenatti, dressed in a gray suit after spending the night in federal lockup, showed no emotion as U.S. Marshals escorted him out of the courtroom. Best known for representing porn star Stormy Daniels in her legal battles against President Donald Trump and for his own one-time presidential ambitions, Avenatti has repeatedly denied any wrong-doing connected to his criminal cases.

Selna ordered federal officials to transport Avenatti to New York, where he is expected to face trial next week for allegedly attempting to extort millions from Nike by threatening to expose payments by the company to college basketball recruits.

In Southern California, Avenatti, a Century City resident, is accused of embezzling $1.6 million from a client’s trust account and providing false tax records to obtain $4.1 million in business loans from a bank. He is also facing a second indictment in New York for allegedly skimming money he owed Daniels related to a book deal for her memoir.

Until Tuesday, Avenatti had been free on bond.

Federal prosecutors on Wednesday alleged that Avenatti has committed fraud and money laundering in order to conceal a $1 million payment he received after his arrest from his creditors.

“Everything he does is to keep the money in his own pocket and not pay the people who have judgments against him,” Assistant United States Attorney Brett Sagel told Selna.

Avenatti’s attorney, H. Dean Steward, acknowledged that Avenatti was intentionally making it difficult for creditors to get ahold of his assets, but denied that Avenatti has broken the law to do so.

“He hasn’t stolen any money from anybody,” Steward said. “Has he avoided creditors? Yes. But he feels that he has done that in an above-board and legal manner.”

Dean Steward, Daniel Dubin and Thomas Warren, from left, attorneys for Michael Avenatti, leave the Reagan Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse in Santa Ana, CA on Wednesday, January 15, 2020. A federal judge revoked Avenatti’s bail, ordering him to remain in custody. (Photo by Paul Bersebach, Orange County Register/SCNG)

Steward contended that prosecutors were attempting to use their power to collect from Avenatti money owed to Jason Frank, a former law partner of Avenatti’s. Asked by the judge if he was accusing Sagel of misconduct, Steward replied, “Of course.”

Sagel told the judge that Steward had no proof behind his allegations “other than bluster from him and his client.”

All credit goes to Sean Emery
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