(Breitbart) – After former Vice President Joe Biden announced his 2020 campaign for president in a video Thursday, troubled TV lawyer Michael Avenatti endorsed him and said, “He has my enthusiastic support.”
“I am extremely happy that @JoeBiden has decided to enter the race. He offers Dems the very best chance in 2020, especially in key states. He has the fight, intelligence and fortitude to beat Trump and begin to make America, America again. He has my enthusiastic support,” Avenatti stated on his private Twitter account. Screenshots of the message soon spread it to a wider audience.
Joe Biden secures Michael Avenatti’s endorsement. pic.twitter.com/9ovQTcPEOY
— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) April 25, 2019
Earlier this month, a federal grand jury indicted Avenatti on 36 counts of fraud, perjury, failure to pay taxes, embezzlement, and other financial crimes.
Last week, he was accused of embezzling $2.5 million from a negotiated payment Miami Heat player Hassan Whiteside thought he was making to his former girlfriend.
Avenatti received attention from several media outlets after he represented adult film actress Stormy Daniels in her lawsuit against President Donald Trump in an attempt to void a non-disclosure agreement she had signed.
The lawyer’s star rose so quickly that he briefly flirted with a 2020 presidential run, finding a great deal of grassroots support from the political left, including CNN host Brian Stelter. However, he withdrew from the race last December, several months before prosecutors revealed their charges against him.
Last November, Daniels expressed concern over the way Avenatti treated her as a client.
“Michael has not treated me with the respect and deference an attorney should show to a client. He has spoken on my behalf without my approval,” Daniels stated. “He filed a defamation case against Donald Trump against my wishes. He repeatedly refused to tell me how my legal defense fund was being spent.”
In March, Avenatti announced he had dropped Daniels as a client.
“We informed Stormy Daniels in writing that we were terminating our legal representation of her for various reasons that we cannot disclose publicly due to attorney-client privilege,” Avenatti said in a statement shared to Twitter.
Flashback: Michael Avenatti Charged With Extortion After Allegedly Threatening Nike For Millions
Attorney Michael Avenatti, one of President Donald Trump’s most determined antagonists and the former lawyer for porn star Stormy Daniels, has reportedly been charged by federal prosecutors with extortion.
Prosecutors in the Southern District of New York reportedly believe that Avenatti threatened the Nike footwear company, saying he could inflict harm on the company’s reputation unless he was paid $20 million.
BREAKING: Attorney Michael Avenatti criminally charged with four counts of extortion and related conspiracy counts.
Press conference at 2:30 pm. pic.twitter.com/dXUXqITQMZ
— Adam Klasfeld (@KlasfeldReports) March 25, 2019
NEW: SDNY is charging Michael Avenatti for "attempting to extract more than $20M in payments from a publicly traded company by threatening to use his ability to garner publicity to inflict substantial financial & reputational harm on the company if his demands were not met."
— erica orden (@eorden) March 25, 2019
Avenatti has repeatedly promised that Trump would not complete his first term in office. He once toyed with running for president against Trump himself, saying he would “kick his ass.”
He was arrested last year in Los Angeles on allegations of domestic violence; charges were later dropped and he was released.
The SDNY is the same jurisdiction that convicted former Trump fixer Michael Cohen, who handled a payment to Stormy Daniels during the 2016 presidential campaign.
Cohen has testified in court and before Congress that Trump directed him to violate federal campaign finance laws, but there is no clear indication that the payment was solely for campaign purposes.
It is also not illegal for candidates to spend their own money on campaigns, though such payments have to be reported to the Federal Election Commission (FEC).
Avenatti and Daniels have since parted ways.
There are more Avenatti charges coming:
Federal prosecutors in LA will also announce charges of wire fraud and bank fraud against Avenatti at 2p ET. These charges are separate from the charges in SDNY that were announced at roughly the same time.
— Shimon Prokupecz (@ShimonPro) March 25, 2019
Avenatti had been set to announce claims of misconduct by Nike on Tuesday:
Tmrw at 11 am ET, we will be holding a press conference to disclose a major high school/college basketball scandal perpetrated by @Nike that we have uncovered. This criminal conduct reaches the highest levels of Nike and involves some of the biggest names in college basketball.
— Michael Avenatti (@MichaelAvenatti) March 25, 2019
More details continue to emerge:
Amazing. Avenatti, speaking directly with Nike's lawyers, allegedly threatened to extort the company. The lawyers immediately called up the Justice Department and set up a recorded sting of Avenatti reiterating his allegedly criminal demands pic.twitter.com/6PkOUjsH7F
— Lachlan Markay (@lachlan) March 25, 2019
Avenatti was reportedly arrested in New York, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
Stormy Daniels — whose real name is Stephanie Clifford — also weighed in:
My statement regarding my former attorney Mr. Avenatti.. pic.twitter.com/9aKYCPNN6y
— Stormy Daniels (@StormyDaniels) March 25, 2019
Update (2:13 p.m. EDT): The charges from Los Angeles have been announced.
BREAKING NEWS / AVENATTI CHARGED AGAIN: He is charged out of Los Angeles with embezzling a client’s money in order to pay his own expenses and debts and also defrauded a bank by using phony tax returns to obtain millions of dollars in loans. @anblanx reports. https://t.co/TItFHS399N
— Tom Winter (@Tom_Winter) March 25, 2019