Attorney Michael Avenatti was arrested by IRS agents at a California courthouse on Tuesday for allegedly violating the terms of pre-trial release.
Avenatti, who faces multiple charges of extortion and fraud in New York and Los Angeles after trying to extort over $20 million from Nike, was attending a day-long disciplinary hearing at the California Bar Court. According to police, he posed a “threat of substantial harm to the public” when he was taken into custody. Avenatti is facing a possible disbarment in a separate filing.
“Completely innocent,” Avenatti allegedly told reporters as he left the courthouse.
Besides the Nike case, Avenatti has been accused of embezzling millions of dollars from clients, including hiding a million-dollar settlement from a mentally ill paraplegic and stealing the identity of former client Stormy Daniels to receive a $300,000 book advance.
Avenatti was supposed to travel to New York on Tuesday night for his criminal trial with Nike, but Thom Mrozek, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles, told Fox News that Avenatti was now expected in federal court in Santa Ana, Calif., on Wednesday.
“I can confirm that he was arrested by federal agents,” Dean Steward, Avenatti’s lawyer, said in a statement. “I anticipate a bail hearing at 2 p.m. tomorrow in Magistrate’s Court in Santa Ana. I haven’t seen the details of the warrant, but should have it later this evening.“
Mrozek also confirmed that Avenatti was arrested on suspicion of violating his pre-trial release but added that the documents related to the arrest were under seal.