Disgraced attorney Michael Avenatti, who rose to national prominence as representing porn actress Stormy Daniels in her lawsuits against former President Trump, has offered to plead guilty to “multiple” criminal charges against him in California.
It’s not clear if prosecutors, and ultimately a judge, will accept his offered plea.
Avenatti faces 36 criminal charges in California alleging he stole millions of dollars from customers, cheated his taxes and then lied to investigators. In a filing in US Central District Court on Sunday, he said he had tried unsuccessfully to reach a settlement with prosecutors for the past year.
The 51-year-old was due to appear in court in July on a number of charges.
Pleading guilty to some of the charges against him shows his willingness to accept responsibility for his actions, he argued.
“Mr. Avenatti wishes to plead to be held accountable; take responsibility; avoid further incriminating his former clients; spare the court and government significant resources; and spare his family further embarrassment,” the filing reads. It does not say which of the charges he intends to plead guilty to.
In a follow-up motion, prosecutors requested that the incarcerated Avenatti be transported to an amendment hearing scheduled for Thursday before US District Judge James Selna at the federal courthouse in Santa Ana. Avenatti planned to represent himself in the upcoming trial, which followed a mistrial in Orange County last August.
Dean Steward, a Newport Beach-based attorney who advises Avenatti, did not respond to a request for comment Monday morning, and a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Central District of California declined to comment.
Avenatti is currently in federal prison on Terminal Island in San Pedro, serving sentences from two prior convictions. Earlier this month, a New York judge sentenced Avenatti to four years in prison after being convicted of fraud and identity theft for defrauding Daniels of nearly $300,000 in book proceeds.
He had previously been convicted in New York for attempting to extort up to $25 million from Nike in order to keep quiet about claims about the sportswear giant’s paid high school athletes. He was sentenced to 2½ years in prison in this case.
https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2022-06-13/twice-convicted-attorney-michael-avenatti-offers-guilty-plea-to-california-charges Michael Avenatti offers guilty plea to California charges