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Attorney Michael Avenatti has been charged with stealing millions of dollars from five clients in a 36-count indictment that also accuses him of perjury, failure to pay income taxes and bank fraud.

Those charges are echoed in today's grand jury indictments, which allege that Avenatti took a $2.75 million legal settlement owed to another client and purchased a $2.5 million private jet.

In the indictment, prosecutors allege Avenatti stole millions of dollars in settlement money from five clients. Prosecutors say he failed to file personal income tax returns since 2010 and did not file tax returns for his law firms, which led to his not paying millions in taxes.

When the IRS started garnishing the company's bank accounts, the indictment says, Avenatti ordered employees to deposit the stores' cash and credit-card receipts in new accounts under a new company name.

On Thursday, Avenatti said on Twitter that the accusation that he had mishandled clients' money was "bogus nonsense" and posted an undated testimonial signed by Johnson that praised him as an "exceptional, honest and ethical attorney".

"Money generated from one set of crimes was used to further other crimes, typically in the form of payments created to string along victims, so as to prevent Mr. Avenatti's financial house of cards from collapsing", Hanna said.

"For 20 years, I have represented Davids vs. Goliaths", the self-described "Fighter for Good" tweeted in response to the new charges.

Last month, Avenatti was named as a defendant in two other indictments from federal prosecutors in NY and Los Angeles.

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"Full confidentiality, we ride off into the sunset", Avenatti told a Nike representative, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation agent.

The client, referred to only as "Client 1" in the indictment, was identified as Geoffrey Johnson by his lawyer, Joshua Robbins. Johnson was referred to as "Client 1" in the indictment, but was named at a recent court hearing involving the money Avenatti was ordered to pay his former partner.

The victims in the case include a mentally ill paraplegic who won a $4 million settlement against Los Angeles County.

The New York prosecutors have separately accused Avenatti of trying to blackmail Nike Inc for more than $20 million.

When asked by The Associated Press last month about Johnson's case, Avenatti said his client approved all transactions and accounting and had been kept in the loop.

"This case is based on the facts and the documents", Hanna said.

After all, the Lawyer of the Year contest here is about the lawyer who best dominates the year's news, and for all the attention Michael Avenatti received combating Donald Trump to secure last year's title, this year he may make as many waves defending himself.

He falsely told Johnson the payments were "advances" on a county settlement payment that had not yet arrived, according to the grand jury.

On Thursday, asked about Avenatti's claim that the indictment was the result of a conspiracy by prominent figures Avenatti has antagonized, Hanna dismissed that allegation: "Nothing can be farther from the truth".


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