Avenatti charged with fraud as he testified in related case

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Attorney Michael Avenatti was facing legal scrutiny for his business practices long before federal charges were unsealed against him.

The lawyer best known for representing porn actress Stormy Daniels in legal battles against President Donald Trump testified Friday in a civil case that he never pocketed $1.6 million from a client.

At the time of his testimony, federal authorities were secretly including allegations of the embezzlement in criminal charges that could put him behind bars for decades.

Avenatti told The Associated Press in an email that his clients’ funds were properly accounted for.

Avenatti was testifying Friday at a debtor hearing over a $10 million judgment an attorney who worked at his previous firm is owed.

Federal prosecutors filed charges under seal while he was testifying.

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