- Michael Avenatti fired his lawyers in the middle of his fraud trial.
- Avenatti said he will now represent himself against his former client Stormy Daniels.
- He’s accused of wire fraud and aggravated identity theft and faces up to 22 years if convicted.
Michael Avenatti fired his lawyers in open court on Tuesday and said that he will represent himself in his high-stakes fraud trial against his former client, Stormy Daniels, The New York Daily News reported.
Avenatti has been charged with wire fraud and aggravated identity theft, and his trial began on Monday. During opening arguments, federal prosecutors said Avenatti pocketed $300,000 out of Daniels’ $800,000 book advance by forging her signature on a letter to the book’s publisher.
Assistant US attorney Andrew Rohrbach said that in addition to sending the unauthorized letter, Avenatti directed Daniels’ agent to send money to his own bank account and lied to Daniels about where the money was.
“He told her that the publisher was being slow,” Rohrbach said. “He told her the publisher was working on it. But the whole time he had the money and he was spending it.”
Avenatti’s now-former lawyer, Andrew Dalack, pushed back, claiming Daniels, who plans to testify against her former lawyer at his trial, is unreliable and lacks credibility.
Dalack also said that Daniels owed Avenatti money for his services as her lawyer and did not uphold her end of their contract.
This story is developing. Check back for updates.