1 of 4 | Attorney Michael Avenatti, seen here outside Manhattan Federal Court in New York City on December 12, 2018, has agreed to plead guilty on multiple counts in a case in California, according to a court filing on Sunday. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo
June 13 (UPI) -- Imprisoned former attorney Michael Avenatti wants to change his plea to guilty in a California case, accusing him of stealing millions of dollars from clients, a new court filing shows.
Advisory counsel, H. Dean Steward, filed the notice of intent for Avenatti, 51, to change his plea to guilty on multiple counts in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California in Los Angeles, Calif., on Sunday.
"Despite repeated efforts over the last year by Mr. Avenatti and his counsel, including substantial efforts made in the last 30 days, defendant has been unable to reach a plea agreement with the government," the court filing read.
"Mr. Avenatti wishes to plea in order to be accountable; accept responsibility; avoid his former clients being further burdened; save the Court and the government significant resources; and save his family further embarrassment," the court filing noted.
Avenatti was indicted in Los Angeles in 2019 on 36 counts, including defrauding a bank using phony tax return documents to obtain millions in loans, and embezzling $10 million from at least five clients from 2015-2019 through a group of shell companies and bank accounts.
A California judge declared a mistrial in the 36-count case last year because federal prosecutors failed to hand over relevant financial evidence to Avenatti, but a new jury trial had been set for the first 10 counts in July, according to court documents.
The willingness to plea guilty comes less than two weeks after a federal judge sentenced him to four years in prison for stealing nearly $300,000 from former client, adult film star Stormy Daniels. Avenatti pocketed money from a publisher of a book, Full Disclosure, that was supposed to go to Daniels, about her alleged affair with Donald Trump before he was president.
Avenatti was already serving out a 2.5-year sentence for an attempt to extort more than $20 million from Nike.
Before he was disgraced, he became famous representing Daniels, as she went public with claims that she was paid $130,000 to keep quiet about an affair with Trump.