Left Menu
Development News Edition

UPDATE 3-Michael Avenatti is sued for allegedly siphoning paraplegic's $4 mln settlement

Reuters | Washington DC | Updated: 14-06-2019 00:05 IST | Created: 13-06-2019 23:54 IST
UPDATE 3-Michael Avenatti is sued for allegedly siphoning paraplegic's $4 mln settlement
Image Credit: Twitter (@MichaelAvenatti)

Michael Avenatti, the lawyer who represented porn star Stormy Daniels in lawsuits against U.S. President Donald Trump, has been sued by a paraplegic former client who accused him of siphoning away a $4 million settlement he had won. Geoffrey Johnson is seeking at least $9.5 million, plus punitive damages, from Avenatti and several former colleagues in a complaint filed with the Orange County Superior Court in California.

"He engaged in a four-year cover-up," Johnson's lawyer Daniel Callahan said at a press conference on Thursday, referring to Avenatti. "Mr. Avenatti has acted so despicably, it's beyond words." Avenatti rejected the allegations. "Mr. Johnson's claims are categorically false and frivolous, and his case will be thrown out of court," Avenatti said in an email.

The claims underlying the lawsuit are also part of federal prosecutors' criminal case against Avenatti, who faces wire fraud, bank fraud, extortion and a few dozen other charges over various matters in California and New York. Avenatti has pleaded not guilty and pledged to fight the charges in court.

Johnson's lawsuit adds to the legal problems for Avenatti, who drew national attention through his representation of Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, in lawsuits against Trump and the president's former lawyer Michael Cohen.


According to his June 11 complaint, Johnson obtained the $4 million settlement from Los Angeles County after becoming a paraplegic by jumping from an elevated floor at a county jail. Johnson, who said he suffered from mental health issues, said abuse by sheriff's deputies had driven him to two suicide attempts, following his improper April 2011 arrest and incarceration at a downtown Los Angeles jail.

The complaint accused Avenatti of holding onto and draining nearly all of the $4 million settlement payment, while paying Johnson roughly $1,900 a month to lull him into thinking the money was being handled properly. Johnson also accused Avenatti's former colleagues Michael Eagan, Jason Frank and Scott Sims at the law firm Eagan Avenatti of failing to ensure that he got paid.

The law firm filed for bankruptcy protection in March, and there has been a variety of litigation among its former lawyers. Eagan, Frank and their lawyers did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Sims, in an email, said he has evidence that Avenatti "stole Mr. Johnson's settlement money" and alerted federal authorities. "We are appalled by Mr. Avenatti's conduct and hope that Mr. Johnson obtains justice against Mr. Avenatti," he said.


Prosecutors accused Avenatti in April of diverting some of the $4 million to finance his coffee business and pay personal expenses, and that he gave Johnson only about $124,000. "But for my assistance, Mr. Johnson would have been convicted of the multiple crimes he was charged with," Avenatti said in the email. He called the lawsuit "part of a 'pile on' publicity stunt to smear me."

Avenatti made hundreds of television appearances and briefly flirted with a 2020 White House run. He has had a lower profile since prosecutors in New York charged him in March with trying to extort more than $20 million from Nike Inc.

The same prosecutors accused Avenatti last month of misappropriating from Daniels nearly $300,000 of payments for her memoir published in October.



Why COVID-19 is unstoppable in USA despite it being ranked at the top of GHS Index?

Several worst-hit countries such as Italy, France, Spain, the UK, Canada, and Russia have peaked COVID-19 cases in April. Almost all of them have gradually flattened the curve. However, the USA is setting new daily records of infections tha...

COVID-19 seems cooking biggest ever global scam

The increasing number of corruption cases on COVID-19 funds from throughout the world and involvement of high profile persons indicate that the countries cant ignore corruption in their pandemic response programs. This has generated the nee...

Health Management Information Systems lack holistic, integrated, and pandemic resilient character

Being a part of the United Nations system, the World Health Organization WHO deserves its share of rebuke for its alleged failure issue COVID-19 health emergency alerts on appropriate time. However, the pandemic has also exposed loopholes i...

Pride in the time of coronavirus: a welcome move online?

This year is different in many ways not least as celebrations are also taking place against the dramatic backdrop of a global health crisis and a resurgence in grassroots activism following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. ...


Latest News

Sudan declares emergency in Darfur region after violence

Sudan declared a state of emergency in the conflict-ridden western region of Darfur after violence and unrest in two towns, state news agency SUNA said.The African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur UNAMID said it had sent a team to Kut...

FACTBOX-Latest on the worldwide spread of the coronavirus

The COVID-19 pandemic will worsen if countries fail to adhere to strict healthcare precautions, the World Health Organization warned on Monday, as coronavirus infections passed 13 million, according to a Reuters tally.DEATHS AND INFECTIONS ...

NFL, NBA stars join A-Rod, J-Lo bid to buy Mets

Celebrity power couple Alex Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez reportedly have turned to some heavy hitters associated with other sports in yet another bid to purchase the New York Mets. Per ESPN, Pro Football Hall of Fame linebacker Brian Urlach...

Basketball-WNBA announces schedule, season to start July 25

The Womens National Basketball Association WNBA unveiled the schedule for its truncated 2020 season on Monday, with Seattle Storm and New York Liberty kicking off the action on July 25. Players have already traveled to Bradenton, Florida, w...

Give Feedback