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Avenatti embezzled millions meant for Hassan Whiteside’s ex: report


Lightning-rod lawyer Michael Avenatti is accused of embezzling nearly $2 million that he was supposed to give to a client to settle her suit against NBA-player ex Hassan Whiteside, blowing the funds on a private jet, a report said Sunday.

The Miami Heat hoopster had wired $2.75 million to Avenatti in January 2017, intending it to cover the bulk of his $3 million settlement with former flame Alexis Gardner, who was repped by Avenatti, The Los Angeles Times reported, citing court filings.

Avenatti was entitled to keep a roughly $1 million cut to cover his legal fees but instead allegedly pocketed the whole sum, stalling Gardner by telling her that the initial payment covered only his share and that hers would come over 96 smaller monthly installments, the report said.

But just one day after receiving the wire transfer from Whiteside, Avenatti shifted around $2.5 million between bank accounts to pay for a half-share of a private HA-420 jet, the report said, citing bank records.

Avenatti paid off Gardner for a few months but eventually stopped those payments, even falsely claiming to the actress and barista that Whiteside was breaching their settlement by skipping installments, prosecutors allege.

Avenatti’s alleged mishandling of Gardner’s case — the exact nature of remains unclear — is just part of a 36-count federal indictment the high-profile attorney is facing.

The same indictment alleges that Avenatti, who rose to prominence representing porn star Stormy Daniels in her suits against ex-lover President Trump, ripped off four other clients, including a mentally-ill, paraplegic man.

Avenatti, who is separately facing charges that he tried to extort $20 million from sportswear giant Nike, reiterated his full denial of any wrongdoing in a statement to The Los Angeles Times.

“No monies were ever embezzled from anyone, and I look forward to all of the relevant documents and facts being presented at trial,” he wrote to the paper.


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