According to Fox News, Michael Avenatti, the former attorney for porn actress Stormy Daniels, pleaded not guilty Monday to federal charges that he allegedly stole millions of dollars from his clients, failed to pay taxes and lied in bankruptcy cases.
The 48-year-old Avenatti, who was indicted earlier this month on 36 counts including wire and bank fraud, appeared in federal court for an arraignment in Santa Ana, California on Monday.
Asked to enter a plea, Avenatti told the judge, “Not guilty to all charges.”
The trial will begin on June 25. A status hearing scheduled for June 15.
Avenatti is accused of embezzling settlement funds and proceeds from other matters he handled for five clients handing out small portions, at times labeling them as advances to prevent thefts from being discovered.
Avenatti, who briefly toyed with the idea of a 2020 presidential run and even visited Iowa, has denied the charges. Ahead of the arraignment, he said he had made powerful enemies and would fight the case.
“The right to a presumption of innocence and the right to a jury trial are two fundamental rights that our founding fathers demanded when this country was formed over 200 years ago,” he said in a statement earlier Monday.
He did not speak to reporters on the way out of the courthouse, saying his early statement was sufficient. [Read More]