Michael Avenatti has been arrested for violating bail.
Just days before a trial involving his alleged attempt to extort Nike, the embattled attorney was taken into custody by IRS agents on Tuesday “with respect to potential violations of the conditions of pretrial release.” Jury selection is scheduled to begin today before the start of his federal trial next week in New York.
A Justice Department official reported that Avenatti was arrested during his appearance before the State Bar Court in Los Angeles, where he was present for a disciplinary hearing over allegations he stole about $840,000 from a former client.
A letter sent on Tuesday to a U.S. District Judge of the Southern District of New York showed that prosecutors in Manhattan were made aware by their Los Angeles counterparts that a warrant had been issued for Avenatti’s arrest.
Avenatti is expected to appear Wednesday in federal court in Santa Ana, Calif.
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The celebrity lawyer’s financial status, particularly his luxurious spending habits and subsequent debts, has been called into question amid the upcoming federal trial.
Avenatti — who rose to fame while representing adult film star Stormy Daniels in lawsuits against President Donald Trump — is accused of attempting to extort more than $20 million from the Swoosh in exchange for not publicizing alleged illicit payments to student athletes. He currently faces three counts including intent to extort, violation of the Hobbs Act (which criminalizes extortion) and honest service wire fraud. Avenatti has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
FN has reached out to Avenatti for comment.
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