Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) called out Michael Avenatti and some media outlets after the attorney was nailed with a 36-count indictment for tax evasion and defrauding clients, among other things.
According to the indictment, Avenatti illegally siphoned money from his clients to pay for his own expenses. He also allegedly defrauded a bank using false IRS tax returns that made it seem as though he had more money than he did in real life.
Grassley — who served as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee during the nomination for Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh — called out the media outlets that trusted Avenatti when he brought forward sexual assault allegations against the judge. As IJR previously reported, Grassley referred Avenatti to the Department of Justice for allegedly providing false testimony about Kavanaugh.
The senator called Avenatti the “Darth Vader” of Kavanaugh’s hearing and called into question his acceptance by the “mainstream media.”
The darth vader of Kavanaugh nom/unethical lawyer Avenatti indicted on 36 counts incl tax dodging/perjury etc We now find out what sort of guy he is &confirms he has NO credibility Can u imagine he was accepted by mainstream media as a tool trying 2help Dems sink Kavanaugh nom??
— ChuckGrassley (@ChuckGrassley) April 11, 2019
Grassley wasn’t alone in questioning the judgment of some in the media. According to a report by the Federalist, Avenatti appeared on news networks more than 200 times since he fell into the spotlight while representing adult film actress Stormy Daniels in her case against President Donald Trump.
It's so funny we interviewed Avenatti 214 times from March to November last year, so silly how we did that https://t.co/qYCRSXHWFg
— Ben Domenech (@bdomenech) April 11, 2019
Sad that this is not at all shocking… Almost as sad was that CNN tried to make this guy a viable presidential candidate when it seems his only real accomplishment was to be simultaneously indicted on both coasts… https://t.co/c3VYtTvy4x
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) April 11, 2019
— Sean Davis (@seanmdav) April 11, 2019
Others joined Grassley in questioning Avenatti’s character and his work as an “unethical lawyer.” According to the indictment, one of the clients Avenatti allegedly defrauded was paraplegic. The lawyer allegedly denied the client of millions of dollars, and his failure to act on behalf of the client resulted in a loss of disability benefits.
It does not get much worse than this: Michael Avenatti accused of the unthinkable…hiding settlement funds from a mentally Il’s paraplegic.. pic.twitter.com/auYt6aJP0T
— Greta Van Susteren (@greta) April 11, 2019
Michael Avenatti embezzled millions from paraplegic client, new 36-count indictment alleges 🍕💩🤮 https://t.co/kebhkyhymA
— James Woods (@RealJamesWoods) April 11, 2019
Avenatti has denied any wrongdoing, taking to Twitter to assert his innocence. He said he will fight the indictment and claimed the charges were a result of his “many powerful enemies.”
He also posted a client testimonial that he claims is proof that his clients approved of his handling of the cases.
Any claim that any monies due clients were mishandled is bogus nonsense. By way of example only (there are MANY more like this), here is a document Mr. Johnson signed less than a month ago attesting to my ethics and how his case was handled. I look forward to proving my innocence pic.twitter.com/tWL1aIuPy0
— Michael Avenatti (@MichaelAvenatti) April 11, 2019
Still, many question Avenatti’s claim of innocence. Several people took to Twitter to mock his claim that he represented “David vs. Goliath” clients.
You left out that you’re accused of stealing David’s money afterward… https://t.co/6xc8sRqySs
— Robby Starbuck (@robbystarbuck) April 11, 2019
For now, Avenatti is still presumed innocent and will have his day in court. If he is found guilty, he faces up to 335 years in prison.