BFF-02 US lawyer Avenatti says confident he will prevail in court

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US-CRIME-AVENATTI

US lawyer Avenatti says confident he will prevail in court

LOS ANGELES, April 2, 2019 (BSS/AFP) – Attorney Michael Avenatti, who previously represented porn star Stormy Daniels in her legal battles with US President Donald Trump, said Monday he was confident he will prevail as he appeared in a federal court on charges of bank and wire fraud.

“For nearly 20 years, I’ve represented Davids versus Goliaths as an attorney and during that entire time period, I’ve relied upon the justice system and judges in courthouses just like this,” the combative attorney told reporters after his first appearance at the court in Santa Ana, California.

“I will now spend the time in connection with this case and the case in New York relying on that same justice system that I have subjected myself to, and I am highly confident that when the process plays out that justice will be done.”

The 48-year-old attorney is accused of embezzling a client’s funds from a $1.6 million settlement in order to pay his own expenses and debts, including those of his coffee business. His next court date is set for April 29.

He is also accused of defrauding a bank in Mississippi by using fraudulent tax returns to obtain $4.1 million in loans.

Avenatti faces charges in a separate case in New York involving the sports apparel giant Nike.

According to that complaint, the celebrity attorney devised a scheme to extort millions of dollars from Nike by threatening to damage the company’s reputation right before its quarterly earnings and the start of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.

Avenatti was arrested on March 25 in New York in relation to both cases and remains free on a $300,000 personal recognizance bond.

At odds with Avenatti’s claim to be fighting for the most vulnerable, prosecutors in California say a two-year probe paints a picture of a “corrupt lawyer” driven by greed.

In New York, prosecutors said Avenatti’s demands for a multimillion-dollar payment from Nike under the guise of legal work amounted to a “shakedown.”

Avenatti, who at one point entertained the possibility of running for president, rose to fame after representing Daniels in her legal battles with Trump over hush money she received for an affair she allegedly had with Trump in 2006.

He no longer represents Daniels.

BSS/AFP/AU/07:50 hrs