Michael Avenatti Grills Paraplegic Client in California Embezzlement Trial
SANTA ANA, California – In March 2019, after Michael Avenatti millions in debt had already made headlines, a well-known attorney visited Jeffrey Johnson, a client he had not seen in a while.
Avenatti hoped to change the story after the verdict.debtor’s examination– a trial in which creditors can ask debtors to swear an oath about their finances – revealed that he allegedly pocketed a large portion of Johnson’s settlement, which was injured and paralyzed from a lawsuit following Johnson’s injuries in a Los Angeles County jail.
The 50-year-old legal eagle, known for the body of Stormy Daniels in his bombing case against President Trump cluster from other news customers, did not tell Johnson that he was charged in a public trial for burglary, Johnson testified Thursday.
Instead, Avenatti asked Johnson to confirm a statement about his ethics as a lawyer – a compliment that was then sent to the lawyer’s Twitter account and a document that was essentially an impunity, Johnson said.
“Have you seen another lawyer with you on this document?” Assistant U.S. Attorney Alexander Wyman on Thursday asked if it was the second day of testimony at Avenatti. masterminding trial in California. The West Bank trial is the second of three trials Avenatti has faced since his first arrest in the spring of 2019.
But this is the first in which the powerful plaintiff introduces himself.
“No, I didn’t,” replied Johnson, one of five clients that Avenatti allegedly embezzled.
Johnson’s deleted testimony, in particular, reads: “He always defended me vigorously on my behalf, considered my needs, communicated with me on all aspects of my case, and assured me that he would take care of me. He is an extraordinary, honest and ethical lawyer, and I am happy to represent him. ”
Johnson testified that he had no idea that Avenatti had actually settled his case with the Los Angeles County for a lump sum of 4 million years ago, but that for him, the aggrieved party, no significant accident had occurred. Avenatti paid for Johnson with little, while siphoning off most of the township and using it to pay his bills, including those belonging to Seattle Tully’s closed coffee chain.
“Did Avenatti tell you that he was only charged in court that day for stealing your settlement funds?” Wyman asked Johnson to give it a negative answer.
Johnson told the jury that he had signed what Avenatti had handed him because he “trusted” his lawyer.
“I trusted Michael,” Johnson testified. “I trusted him in everything. She helped me get out of prison. He took up residence for me. I trusted him. ”
Despite these disturbing allegations, Avenatti used his question about Johnson to portray a welcome portrait of how he helped the man – to the point that at one point U.S. District Judge James W. Selna advised him to stop asking repetitive questions.
“How did we meet?” asked Avenatti.
Johnson replied that they had met in a “mental prison” and later testified that his family had called Avenatti for help.
“Remember when we were asked to do everything we could to get you out of prison?” Avenatti asked, to which Johnson replied, “I just don’t remember.”
“At the time, you wanted to get out of jail?” Avenatti continued.
“Why is that?
“Because prison is hell,” Johnson testified.
After Avenatti asked Johnson questions that the lawyer had arranged for his client at a care center, which he said costs tens of thousands of dollars a month – he asked another question: “And can you and me and everyone else? Did you appreciate my time and energy? ”
Johnson replied in the affirmative.
In 2011, Johnson was arrested during a mental health episode and his family tried to get him out before attempting suicide, which resulted in permanent injuries.
Johnson testified that he informed Avenatti that he wanted to use his residence to buy an affordable home for the disabled and even met with a realtor to complete the plan.
But Johnson’s dreams of owning a home were dashed as he was still waiting to receive his state’s payment. He testified that Avenatti lied to him about the state of the funds and said the district was guilty of failing to affirm the “special needs trust” that maintains public benefits for the disabled.
Thursday’s testimony also includes allegations that Avenatti did not pay Johnson’s rent at the care center where he lived, along with a number of other bills for his father’s hearing aids and for Johnson’s dental work.
Avenatti is said to have sued Johnson, who testified that he was unaware of the case, as a result of the institution’s failure to pay the maintenance center, and also unaware that Avenatti had settled the case, agreeing that Johnson pay 175,000 rupees for the lease. dollars to pay.
Johnson went on to testify that he had repeatedly appealed to the trust for special needs so that he could collect his future solution without losing his social security benefits.
In turn, Avenatti signed Johnson on a contract when Johnson hired him as his attorney. Avenatti asked, “Where should I and my firm pay for your living and medical expenses?” And where indicated that the lawyer would help him in his social security. “I don’t think there’s anything like this here,” Johnson testified.
Johnson used the image of the graceful graft to the initial stage of the trial, telling the jury that when he noted that he had talked to the other side about building trust for special needs, Avenatti was “outraged.”
“We have to keep it in the family,” Johnson testified. “’I am your lawyer; you don’t go outside the firm. ”
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