Avenatti

Attorney Michael Avenatti Arrested on Alleged Bail Violation

During the hearing, the judge refused to postpone the trial scheduled to start with jury selection on Wednesday.

Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images

California attorney Michael Avenatti has been rearrested for alleged bail violations, prosecutors in New York told a judge late Tuesday.

The prosecutors said in a one-page letter to U.S. District Judge Paul G. Gardephe that they were told by prosecutors in Los Angeles that an arrest warrant had been issued and it was expected Avenatti would be arrested soon.

"We understand that has now occurred," the New York prosecutors said in the letter.

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"We are still gathering information and will provide an update to the Court as soon as we can," the letter added. The letter was submitted by Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman and signed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel C. Richenthal. Three other prosecutors were also listed.

California authorities did not immediately confirm the arrest.

A message seeking comment was left with Avenatti's attorneys.

In their letters, New York prosecutors said Los Angeles prosecutors notified them that Avenatti was arrested in California for alleged violations of the conditions of his pretrial release.

Avenatti was scheduled for trial next week in Manhattan federal court. That trial pertains to allegations that he extorted Nike for up to $25 million. He has pleaded not guilty.

But he also faces trial in May in Los Angeles on charges that he defrauded clients of millions of dollars.

He has pleaded not guilty to those charges, along with allegations in a criminal case in Manhattan federal court alleging he ripped off ex-client porn star Stormy Daniels of proceeds of a book deal. The second New York trial was scheduled to start in May.

Earlier Tuesday, Avenatti was on a telephone conference with his lawyers, prosecutors and Gardephe.

During the hearing, the judge refused to postpone the trial scheduled to start with jury selection on Wednesday.

Avenatti's lawyers had requested a monthlong delay to study additional documents.

Avenatti has said he has been unfairly targeted by the U.S. Justice Department after publicly quarreling with President Donald Trump.

Gardephe said he'll rule during another telephone conference on Wednesday whether to allow evidence about Avenatti's financial condition to be shown to jurors.

Prosecutors say they'd like to show the jury that Avenatti's debts coincided with demands he made early last year in meetings with Nike lawyers for between $15 million and $25 million.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Podolsky told Gardephe that Avenatti's law firm would not have been able to stay in business because the firm had a $10 million judgment against it.

Defense attorney Danya Perry said prosecutors exaggerated Avenatti's debts, particularly what the law firm owed, and she disputed claims by the government in court papers that Avenatti owed over $15 million.

"It doesn't get close to that," she said.

Although Podolsky insisted prosecutors needed to reveal the debts at trial to show Avenatti's motivation to seek so much money from Nike, the judge expressed doubt.

Gardephe said: "$15 to $20 million is a very compelling motive to commit a crime even if you don’t happen to be in debt. I have to take that into account also."

Perry said the amount of money requested for an internal corruption probe of Nike was first suggested by a Nike attorney rather than Avenatti.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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