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California

Trial for attorney Michael Avenatti is scheduled for May

Michael Avenatti
Attorney Michael Avenatti talks to the media after a federal court hearing in New York on May 30, 2018.
(Richard Drew / Associated Press)

A Santa Ana judge set a May trial date for Michael Avenatti, the attorney who rose to fame representing porn actress Stormy Daniels and was accused of defrauding his clients and failing to pay taxes in California.

Avenatti, 48, was indicted in April and his attorney, Dean Steward, argued that he would not have time to review evidence for the trial until June. In court Monday, U.S. District Judge James Selna set a May 19, 2020, trial date and rejected Avenatti’s request to access computers from his former law firm that he had turned over to a receiver, who was complying with a search warrant from a federal investigator.

For the record:
8:37 PM, Aug. 27, 2019 A previous version of this article described a judge’s ruling in regards to a “bankruptcy receiver”; it is a receiver. Also, the article stated that if convicted of all charges, Avenatti could face up to 97 years in prison. He actually could face a maximum penalty of 404 years in prison.

Avenatti is accused of embezzling from a client’s $1.6-million legal settlement to cover personal expenses and buttress his troubled coffee business. Prosecutors are also accusing Avenatti of bank fraud, alleging that he gave a Mississippi bank fictitious personal tax returns to secure more than $4 million in business loans.

In New York, prosecutors alleged he tried to extort $25 million from Nike by threatening to expose alleged payments by the shoe company in the recruitment of college basketball players.

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If convicted of all charges in the California and New York indictments, Avenatti could face a maximum penalty of 404 years in prison.

City News Service contributed to this report.


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