David McNew/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Federal prosecutors are expected to charge Michael Avenatti with additional financial crimes Wednesday, sources briefed on the case told ABC News.
The new charges will accuse Avenatti of misappropriating money that was supposed to be paid to Stormy Daniels when Avenatti was representing the adult film actress in her public battle against President Trump and his former attorney Michael Cohen, the sources said.
The charges are to be filed by federal prosecutors in Manhattan who have already accused Avenatti of extortion in a case involving Nike.
On Wednesday, Avenatti told ABC News that “no monies relating to Ms. Daniels were ever misappropriated or mishandled.”
“She received millions of dollars worth of legal services and we expended huge sums in expenses,” he wrote in a statement to ABC News.
“She directly paid only $100.00 (not a typo) for all that she received.”
But on Tuesday evening, without prompting, he wrote on Twitter that he expected this.
“I expect an indictment to issue from SDNY in the next 48 hrs charging me in connection with my arrest in March,” the Tweet said. “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.”
Spokesmen for the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York, citing Justice Department policy against speaking about charges that haven’t been announced, declined to comment.
News of prosecutors’ inquiry into his business dealings with Daniels marks the latest legal blow for Avenatti, coming after federal prosecutors on both coasts unsealed charges against the controversial 48-year-old attorney.
The Daniels investigation is not related to those charges. But it is being run by the same team of federal officials who slapped Avenatti with two counts of extortion for his alleged role in what prosecutors called “an old-fashioned shakedown” of Nike.
He and another celebrity lawyer, Mark Geragos, allegedly threatened to release damaging information about the sportswear giant if it refused to pay the two attorneys millions of dollars. Geragos was not charged with a crime.
In the Central District of California, prosecutors targeted Avenatti with wire- and bank-fraud charges in a scheme that included stealing funds from a client to pay off his own expenses.
Avenatti gained prominence last year when he began representing Daniels in a defamation lawsuit against Trump. A federal judge in California later threw out the suit and ordered Daniels to reimburse Trump for legal fees.
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.
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