Michael Avenatti’s lawyer claims his client doesn’t have enough money to pay for his legal fees, Fox News reports.
His attorney Dean Steward filed a motion in federal court on Saturday highlighting Avenatti’s financial state. In the filing, the California attorney states Avenatti is asking for taxpayer help to cover his legal bills.
“The bottom line is that Mr. Avenatti has run out of funds, and faces a complex trial lasting as long as six weeks,” Steward penned in a filing to Judge James Selna in Los Angeles, who is overseeing one of Avenatti’s three ongoing criminal cases.
Avenatti was previously represented by lawyers from the federal public defender’s office last year. His retained counsel stopped representing him and taxpayer funded attorneys stepped in for a stint of time before Steward took over, according to Fox News.
"[B]ut the retainer has long since run out and defendant does not have funds to pay counsel,” Steward said.
Steward said he would continue to serve as Avenatti’s lawyer and get paid under terms of existing rules for indigent clients.
“Such an arrangement would save considerable taxpayer funds, over starting fresh with new … counsel,” he wrote.
The actual details of Avenatti’s financial situation are under seal from public view, but they were filed with the court. It is unclear when the federal judge will take up the matter.
Avenatti was permitted to leave federal custody amid the coronavirus pandemic. He has been living with a friend in Southern California since April.
While living with his friend, Avenatti’s legal issues didn’t subside. His friend was forced to answer questions to determine whether Avenatti had violated the terms of his release. It was alleged he had used internet-capable devices, which is prohibited under the terms of his deal.
The judge found that Avenatti’s actions did “not merit any action.”
Avenatti faces three-dozen counts of fraud, tax evasion and other alleged crimes. He was convicted in February of trying to extort millions of dollars from Nike and is also accused of stealing money from his client Stormy Daniels.
Avenatti hasn’t been sentenced in the Nike case and is awaiting trial in the other two.
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