Michael Avenatti had his mentally ill paraplegic client give a positive testimony about him when he realized that the man would soon learn about the claim that he had stolen his $ 4 million settlement, later with the statement proving that he did not have him stolen, a lawyer exclusively told DailyMail.com.
Avenatti was indicted last week for 36 offenses, including allegations that he had stolen the Millennium Exchange from Geoffrey Johnson, who hired Avenatti to fight a case against Los Angeles County after being badly treated in a county prison.
After negotiating the $ 4 million settlement in 2015, Avenatti allegedly hid Johnson's money, pretending that the money could not be paid out and only $ 1,000 a month as & # 39; advances & # 39; handed out.
It was revealed by DailyMail.com that Avenatti Johnson was allegedly accused during a hearing for a debtor investigation last month, where a lawyer was grilled over his property by a partner at his former firm.
Immediately after the hearing – knowing the story would come out – a panicky Avenatti drove to Johnson's house to try and hide the alleged fraud, signing the testimony that praised his services, Johnson & # 39; s lawyer told DailyMail .com.
The controversial lawyer then tweeted a copy of the testimony when the charge fell on April 11 as evidence of his innocence in misusing clients' money.
Michael Avenatti had his mentally ill paraplegic client sign a positive testimony about him when he realized that the man would soon learn that he had stolen his 4 million-million settlement, later using the statement as proof that he did not have him stolen, a lawyer has exclusively told DailyMail.com
Avenatti is accused of hiding Johnson's settlement money (photo), as if the money could not be paid out. Realizing that his alleged fraud would come to light, he hurried to Johnson and had him sign a glowing testimony about his services to cover himself, says Johnson & # 39; s lawyer
The controversial lawyer then tweeted a copy of the testimonial (photo) when the indictment was announced on April 11 as evidence of his innocence in misusing clients' money.
& # 39; Mr. Avenatti needs millions of dollars to compensate a client for a permanent debilitating injury, stolen the money, lied to the client for years and then tried to cover it up when the story started to break, leaving the client destitute. , & # 39; Johnson & # 39; s lawyer Joshua Robbins told DailyMail.com.
Johnson hired Avenatti, the former lawyer for porn star Stormy Daniels in her lawsuit against Donald Trump, to fight his case against Los Angeles County and eventually win $ 4 million in a settlement.
The 53-year-old uses a wheelchair and is sedated from the waist down after falling on his head while trying to hang himself in a cell in Los Angeles that he shared with prisoners who spit and threw droppings at him.
But instead of helping his case, Avenatti's tweet might have dropped him in otherwise legally hot water, Johnson & # 39; s lawyer Joshua Robbins (photo) told DailyMail.com
The indictment reveals Avenatti, 48, paid Johnson as little as $ 1,000 a month, making a total of just $ 124,000 in four years.
Robbins said: “When Mr. Avenatti received $ 4 million in settlement funds in January 2015, he did not tell Mr. Johnson because he was obliged to do according to professional ethics rules that every lawyer knew.
& # 39; Instead, Mr. Avenatti moved all the money to other accounts he managed, and then used it for personal expenses, apparently including his motor racing team.
& # 39; More than four years, he lied to Mr. Johnson, told him that the money had not yet been paid and that he was working to collect it, while reassuring Mr. Johnson by paying small amounts each month as & # 39 ; & # 39; advances & # 39; & # 39; about the future settlement amount. & # 39;
Avenatti, allegedly accusing Johnson, was revealed when he appeared for a hearing late last month in a separate case involving a partner at his former law firm.
Robbins claims that Avenatti rushed to Johnson after the hearing to have him sign the testimony.
& # 39; Mr. Avenatti drove straight to Mr. Johnson's house, wrongly told him that the settlement funds had finally arrived, and shortly thereafter he asked him a & # 39; & # 39; customer case & # 39; & # 39; in which he glorified the effectiveness and ethics of Mr Avenatti, & # 39; said Robbins.
& # 39; Only later did Mr. Johnson learn that Mr. Avenatti had lied to him and had hidden the money for years. & # 39;
On the day the indictment against him was announced, Avenatti tweeted Johnson's testimony and said the government's claims were & # 39; fake nonsense & # 39; goods.
Last month, a court in Los Angeles heard that the Avenatti law firm won a multi-million-dollar settlement from the County of Los Angeles in 2015 in a lawsuit that it filed on behalf of Johnson, a paraplegic man with mental health problems.
Robbins said: “When Mr. Avenatti received $ 4 million in settlement funds in January 2015, he did not tell Mr. Johnson because he was obliged to do according to professional ethics rules that every lawyer knew. Instead, Mr. Avenatti moved all the money to other accounts that he managed, and then used it for personal expenses, apparently including his motor racing team & # 39;
The indictment reveals Avenatti, 48, Johnson paid as little as $ 1,000 a month, leaving him with a total of just $ 124,000 in four years
Along with the photo of the testimony, Avenatti wrote on Twitter: & # 39; Just by way of example (there are MUCH more like this), here is a document that Mr. Johnson signed less than a month ago confirming my ethics and how his case was handled. I look forward to proving my innocence. & # 39;
The document states that Avenatti & # 39; has always fervently argued for me, taken care of my needs, communicated with me on all aspects of my case and made sure that I was taken care of. He is an exceptional, honest and ethical lawyer and I am fortunate to have me represented. & # 39;
But instead of helping his case, the lawyer 's tweet may have dropped him into further legal problems, Robbins told DailyMail.com, adding that Avenatti may have done the work of the prosecutors for them through a copy of publish the signed document on Twitter.
& # 39; The government claims that the thing he tweeted is part of the fraud plan, and so what he apparently did is to incriminate incriminating evidence supporting the allegations, which is a first in my experience, & # 39 ; said Robbins.
& # 39; I was a federal attorney for a number of years and I have not seen that before. We are taking new paths. & # 39;
Johnson, duped from his compensation, was forced to live off disability benefits until the payments were closed when the Social Security Administration (SSA) heard of his $ 4 million payout.
Johnson uses a wheelchair and is anesthetized from the waist down after falling on his head trying to hang himself in a cell in LA. The 53-year-old, reportedly duped from his compensation, was forced to live off disability benefits. Johnson is currently renting a room in a bare, derelict house in Granada Hills, California (photo), helped by a part-time carer
& # 39; Of course, the SSA did not know what the facts were & # 39 ;, DailyMail.com told a source close to the investigation.
& # 39; They asked for information and Avenatti promised to provide the information because he was the one who had it.
& # 39; But he clearly didn't want to do that, because that would let the cat out of the bag.
& # 39; We know that he did not provide correct information.
& # 39; Johnson was left without social security benefits or other income from the settlement money or from Avenatti. & # 39;
Robbins said that his client is now cooperating in the government investigation & # 39 ;.
"Regarding additional actions to try to recover money from Mr. Avenatti, that is something we are considering, and it will become part of Mr. Johnson's consideration and decision making," the lawyer continued.
Johnson is currently renting a room in a bare, dilapidated house in Granada Hills, California, helped by a part-time caretaker.
Although the 53-year-old refused to talk directly to DailyMail.com, his lawyer described Johnson's finances as "very desperate".
In a series of tweets last week, Avenatti said he would contest the charges against him.
& # 39; I intend to fully combat all charges and NOT plead guilty. I look forward to making the whole truth known as opposed to a one-sided version that is meant to put me offside, & he wrote.
& # 39; I represent Davids versus Goliaths for 20 years and trust in a fair trial and our legal system. Along the way I have made many powerful enemies. I am entitled to a FULL presumption of innocence and am convinced that justice will be done once ALL the facts are known. & # 39;