by Chuck Ross
Prosecutors will indict disgraced celebrity lawyer Michael Avenatti on federal charges related to his former client, Stormy Daniels, ABC News reported.
The U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan is expected to issue the indictment, sources told the network. The same prosecutors are handling another extortion case involving Avenatti, who was once a prominent guest on CNN and MSNBC.
Avenatti was indicted in New York on March 25 on charges that he tried to extort Nike, the sports apparel company. The disgraced lawyer was also indicted in California on charges that he evaded taxes and bilked clients out of settlement money.
Avenatti allegedly hid a $4 million settlement that was supposed to be paid out to a mentally ill, paraplegic man he represented in a lawsuit in Los Angeles.
Avenatti said Tuesday he expected to be indicted again, but he did not say that the case involved Daniels.
“I expect an indictment to issue from SDNY in the next 48 hrs charging me in connection with my arrest in March,” he tweeted. “I intend on fighting these bogus/legally baseless allegations, and will plead not guilty to ALL CHARGES. I look forward to the trial where I can begin to clear my name.”
Avenatti represented Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, in legal battles with President Donald Trump and his former lawyer, Michael Cohen.
Cohen paid Daniels $130,000 in October 2016 as part of a deal to prevent the adult film actress from discussing an alleged affair she had with Trump in 2006.
Cohen pleaded guilty on Aug. 21, 2018 to a campaign finance violation because of the payment.
Avenatti appeared frequently on TV to berate Cohen and Trump. But he also used that platform to pick up new clients that he used to elevate his political standing. He represented Julie Swetnick, a woman who claimed she was drugged and raped at a party attended by Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
No evidence has emerged to support Swetnick’s claims, and several people who know her have questioned her allegations.
Avenatti at one point in 2018 floated the idea of running for president in 2020.
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Chuck Ross is a reporter for the Daily Caller News Foundation. Follow Chuck on Twitter.