Michael Avenatti, Walton + Brown, Lawyer, Donald Trump, Stormy Daniels

Grand Jury Indicts Michael Avenatti on 36 New Charges, Accused of Stealing Millions from Clients

Federal prosecutors in California announced 36 new charges against attorney Michael Avenatti late last week. Avenatti rose to fame several years ago as the lead attorney for adult-film star Stormy Daniels, in her legal claims against President Donald Trump. The indictment accuses Avenatti of fraud, tax-dodging and embezzlement. The indictment claims Avenatti stole millions of dollars from his clients and used it for his own personal gain, including co-ownership of a $5 million private jet.

According to the indictment, Avenatti would negotiate a settlement that would require payment to a client. He would then “misrepresent, conceal, and falsely describe to the client” the details of the settlement and the amount of payment they would be receiving. Instead of paying his clients, Avenatti would funnel the funds into his own personal accounts. In January 2015, one of Avenatti’s former clients Geoffrey Johnson was offered a $4 million dollar settlement from Los Angeles County. The settlement was designed to dismiss a lawsuit that contained constitutional violations that caused Johnson to suffer “severe emotional distress and severe physical injuries.” Michael Avenatti lied to Mr. Johnson about the total settlement figure, paying him only $124,000 of the $4 million, while the remainder of the settlement went to Avenatti’s personal accounts. Joshua Robbins, the attorney now representing Mr. Johnson, states that “Mr Avenatti stole millions of dollars that were meant to compensate Mr. Johnson for a devastating injury, spent it on his own lavish lifestyle, then lied about it… to cover his tracks.” In an unrelated settlement, it is reported that Avenatti “caused approximately $1,599,400 of [an] initial $1,600,000 settlement payment to be used for his own purposes.”

 In response to the allegations, Avenatti described himself as an innocent man who has made “powerful enemies” throughout his legal career. “For 20 years, I have represented Davids vs. Goliaths and relied on due process and our system of justice. Along the way, I have made many powerful enemies. I am entitled to a FULL presumption of innocence and am confident that justice will be done once ALL of the facts are known.” He tweeted on Thursday that he intends to plead “not guilty” to the charges.

 Nicola T. Hanna, U.S. attorney for the Central District of California, described Avenatti’s fraudulent actions as “taking money from one scheme and using it lull clients, to string them along, to prevent them from going to authorities and taking money from different pots as needed.” Hanna says that authorities are “looking to recover restitution for all victims that we can identify.”

 The alleged behavior of Michael Avenatti highlights the importance of hiring an honest and trustworthy attorney for your own legal matters. Walton + Brown, LLP takes pride in having a successful serious personal injury and civil rights practice, unafraid to step into a courtroom and litigate cases to the fullest extent necessary. With over 450 lawsuits filed and over $18 million in settlements or verdicts won for our clients, attorneys Sean Walton and Chanda Brown bring a record of success and honesty. Sean and Chanda have been awarded Top 100 and Top 40 Under 40 designations as trial attorneys.


Disclaimer: The materials available on this page are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. Use and access to this website or any of the links contained within the site does not create an attorney-client relationship.


Walton + Brown, LLP
395 E. Broad Street, Suite 200
Columbus, OH 43215
614-636-3476 (Office)
614-636-3453 (Fax)