The Slatest

Michael Avenatti Arrested in Middle of Disbarment Hearing for Violating Bail Agreement

Michael Avenatti walks outside in front of gold-framed doors.
Attorney Michael Avenatti in New York City on July 23. Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Attorney Michael Avenatti, the onetime high-flying legal eagle in President Donald Trump’s bonnet, has fallen far, fast, and on Tuesday was arrested (again) by IRS agents for alleged violations of his bail agreement “violating the terms of his pretrial release” days before going on trial in federal court. What exactly the 48-year-old lawyer did to potentially violate the terms of his bail was not immediately clear. Avenatti was reportedly arrested during a recess of his preliminary hearing before the state bar that could see him ultimately disbarred. His lawyer informed the judge when the hearing resumed that Avenatti would not be able to appear. “Completely innocent,” Avenatti said while being led out of the courthouse by federal agents Tuesday evening.

The onetime lawyer for Stormy Daniels who was appearing nightly next to Anderson Cooper not that long ago is expected to appear in federal court on Wednesday where he is now on the hook himself for a myriad of alleged crimes, including defrauding Daniels and a number of other clients out of millions of dollars. “Avenatti is charged in California with wire fraud, trying to obstruct the IRS, identity theft, bank fraud and false testimony under oath during bankruptcy,” NBC News reports. “He is accused of embezzling $4 million from a paraplegic man whom he had represented, federal prosecutors have said.” Ouch.

“Avenatti’s arrest comes as jury selection is set to begin Wednesday before the start of his federal trial on the Nike charges next week in Manhattan,” according to the Washington Post. “In that case, the attorney allegedly demanded millions in hush money regarding claims about the sports apparel behemoth paying high school basketball players to direct them toward college basketball programs sponsored by Nike. The company has denied any wrongdoing. The other federal trial involving Avenatti, which accuses him of defrauding clients for more than four years, is scheduled to start in May.”

Avenatti has pleaded not guilty to the mounting allegations of wrongdoing. Stormy Daniels’ fraud case against him is also expected to begin in May.