Michael Avenatti, the flamboyant lawyer who used to dominate cable news shows with his threats to take down President Trump, is now so poor that he was awarded a court-appointed lawyer Wednesday.
A federal judge overseeing one of three federal criminal cases against him said he has established his “current indigency,” so his lawyer, H. Dean Steward, will be paid for by the public.
It’s yet another fall for Avenatti, who earlier this year was convicted of attempting to extort money from Nike, the sportswear company, and who still faces accusations of bilking clients and the IRS in one case, and fraud charges in another case involving former client Stormy Daniels, the porn star Avenatti represented in her legal battle against Mr. Trump.
Avenatti is awaiting sentencing from the Nike conviction but currently free on a coronavirus release. The Justice Department, though, says he violated the terms of that release by using a computer, and they are pushing to have him sent back to jail.
Public sources have estimated Avenatti’s wealth to be as much as $20 million, but Judge James V. Selna said he’s proved to the court he’s struggling financially.
Avenatti’s lawyers in the Stormy Daniels case asked the judge to withdraw from that case earlier this week, citing their client’s inability to pay.
Poverty is the latest sting.
In addition to looming prison time, Avenatti had his name stripped from the award he had endowed at George Washington University’s law school.