Celebrity lawyer Michael Avenatti will be held without bond ahead of his upcoming federal trial after being rearrested for allegedly committing additional crimes while out on bail, The Daily Beast reports.
Avenatti is being held in an Orange County, California, jail, but will soon be transported to New York, where one of his federal trials is set to begin January 21.
Avenatti — the former attorney for Stormy Daniels in her suit against President Donald Trump — was arrested Tuesday night, coincidentally while he was already in court. The lawyer was reportedly facing a disciplinary hearing before the State Bar of California after being accused of stealing $840,000 from a former client. While being taken out of the courthouse, Avenetti reportedly said, “Completely innocent.”
An attorney for Avenatti did not immediately return Rolling Stone’s request for comment.
Avenatti was arrested and indicted in separate federal cases in New York and Los Angeles back in March 2019, and eventually released on bond. According to The Washington Post, however, he allegedly spent the next few months, between April and October, committing mail fraud, wire fraud and money laundering. He allegedly defrauded an ex-law partner he owed $5 million, an ex-client he owed $2.2 million and an ex-wife he owed $2.5 million in child and spousal support.
Avenatti’s alleged schemes included having an ex-wife buy a Mercedes-Benz for him to use so that he could avoid paying debts; draining and refilling his bank accounts with cashier’s checks to allegedly throw off creditors; and withdrawing money from banks in increments less than $10,000 to avoid drawing the attention of the government (a process known as “structuring”).
Avenatti faces federal charges in both New York and Los Angeles. In L.A., he was accused of wire fraud and bank fraud stemming from alleged attempts to pay off his own debts by embezzling clients’ money. In New York, he’s accused of trying to extort between $1.5 to $25 million from Nike.
While Avenatti is still likely to be transported to New York, WaPo noted that the lawyer’s rearrest has potentially unmoored that trial and it’s possible that it could be postponed.