DEVELOPING: IRS, DOJ to File 36-Count Indictment Against Michael Avenatti

Celebrity lawyer Michael Avenatti arrives for his first hearing in Santa Ana federal court on bank and wire fraud charges

Federal prosecutors painted a picture of attorney Michael Avenatti on Thursday as a scheming operator who stole millions of dollars from clients, cheated on his taxes, lied to investigators and tried to hide money from debtors in bankruptcy proceedings.

"Money generated from one set of crimes was used to further other crimes, typically in the form of payments created to string along victims so as to prevent Mr. Avenatti's financial house of cards from collapsing", U.S. Attorney Nicola Hanna in Los Angeles said Thursday at a press conference.

On Thursday, following the grand jury indictments in California, Avenatti declared that he plans "to fully fight all charges and plead NOT GUILTY".

"I look forward to the entire truth being known as opposed to a one-sided version meant to sideline me", he said.

Wednesday's indictment is separate from charges Avenatti faces in NY for allegedly trying to extort Nike out of more than $20 million.

"Authorities charge that Avenatti threatened to hold a news conference on the eve of the NCAA college basketball tournament to reveal damaging allegations against Nike unless it paid his client $1.5 million and agreed to hire Avenatti and another lawyer for $15 million to $25 million to conduct an "internal investigation" into the purported allegations".

Hanna said the Avenatti case "has nothing to do with anything political or with anything else".

Avenatti allegedly scammed another client, a paraplegic man, out of a $4 million settlement without the client's knowledge, according to the indictment. "Typically in the form of payments created to string along victims so as to prevent Mr. Avenatti's financial house of cards from collapsing".

Avenatti was also charged with submitting fraudulent tax returns to get more than $4 million in loans from The Peoples Bank in Biloxi, Mississippi, in 2014.

The court ordered federal agents to seize Avenatti's jet at Santa Barbara Airport on Wednesday.

He allegedly stole millions from one client to purchase a private jet, according to the indictment, which is included in full at the bottom of this article.

Avenatti capitalized on how the Stormy Daniels case raised his profile, repeatedly assailing Trump and his former attorney, Michael Cohen.

Avenatti had denied the accusations in a series of posts on social media on April 11. Avenatti sued the County of Los Angeles on behalf of a client who suffered "severe emotional distress and several physical injuries, including paraplegia" from an unspecified incident, according to the indictment. In one example in the indictment, Avenatti answered "no" under oath during the proceeding when asked if his firm received any fees from the Super Bowl NFL litigation.

Avenatti responded on Twitter, writing that "for 20 years, I have represented Davids vs. Goliaths and relied on due process and our system of justice".

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