Minnesota residents who have been following the legal tribulations of Donald Trump have likely heard of Micheal Avenatti, the lawyer who represented adult star Stormy Daniels in her suit against the president. Avenatti has been charged with aggravated identity theft and fraud for mishandling $300,000 that was intended for Daniels. The money was funneled through a literary agent for Daniels to an account handled by Avenatti. This was done by providing fraudulent documents to the agent that contained a forged signature.
Prosecutors in California also have charged the attorney with bank and wire fraud related to defrauding his clients. In addition to those charges, Avenatti has been charged with extortion and conspiracy to extort by federal prosecutors. In March, he was taken into custody after he threatened to release incriminating information about Nike if the company did not give him $20 million.
In the same month, Stormy Daniels announced that she was no longer being represented by Avenatti and that he had been dishonest with her. However, he contends that he was the one who ended the attorney-client relationship. He also said on Twitter that he looks forward to defending himself against the accusations that have been made against him.
A conviction for wire fraud or other financial crimes may carry significant penalties. For example, an offender could go to jail or have to pay restitution to victims. This might be on top of fines or other penalties that a judge hands down at sentencing. However, an attorney may be able to dispute the evidence used in court against a defendant or move to have it suppressed entirely. Doing so may enable a case to be thrown out or create enough reasonable doubt for a jury to acquit a defendant.