New York

Avenatti: Trump Aims Justice Department at Political Enemies

Federal prosecutors say Avenatti used a doctored document to divert the money that Daniels was supposed to get from a book deal

What to Know

  • California attorney Michael Avenatti is due to return to a New York court on Tuesday to face fraud charges against Stormy Daniels
  • The pretrial hearing Tuesday is likely to be routine, with a discussion of when written arguments must be submitted
  • The 48-year-old lawyer was also charged in late March with trying to extort up to $25 million from Nike

Michael Avenatti told reporters President Donald Trump is the real criminal after the California attorney appeared at a New York hearing on criminal charges he cheated porn star Stormy Daniels of book proceeds.

Avenatti called Trump a "third-rate mobster" who has unleashed the U.S. Justice Department on his "most ardent political enemies."

He questioned why top Trump aides and one of his sons has not been charged in connection with a $130,000 payment to buy the silence of Daniels before the 2016 presidential election.

Trump doesn't have a high opinion of Avenatti, either. In a tweet last year, he called him "a third rate lawyer who is good at making false accusations" and "a total low-life!"

Avenatti has pleaded not guilty to charges he cheated Daniels of $300,000. Avenatti once represented Daniels regarding an alleged affair with Trump.

His court appearance was brief. A judge said she hopes to decide by October whether to move the criminal case to California.

Avenatti faces criminal charges in New York and Los Angeles related to claims he tried to extort up to $25 million from Nike and defrauded clients in California. He denies all allegations.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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