Transcript for Prosecutors accuse lawyer Michael Avenatti of stealing millions from his clients
There are sweeping new charges against the lawyer who took on president trump. Michael avenatti tonight is now accused of stealing millions from his own clients, including stealing from a $4 million settlement he helped win for a paraplegic man. Authorities say using stolen money to buy real estate and to buy this private jet right there, that federal agents have now seized tonight. ABC's chief national correspondent Matt Gutman. Reporter: Michael avenatti famously crowed that he won millions for his clients. Tonight, prosecutors are saying that for several of those clients, what he won, he mostly pocketed. Mr. Avenatti received the money on behalf of clients and simply took the money to finance his businesses and personal expenses. Reporter: A federal grand jury indicting the flash are L.A. Attorney on 36 counts of fraud, perjury and failing to pay taxes. The types of crimes he so often accused president trump of committi. Avenatti is now accused of stealing millions from his clients to finance a luxury lifestyle that included a chain of coffee shops which he advertised on his race car suit, a big home, even a jet which prosecutors say he used client money to buy. Mr. Avenatti allegedly took all that money and used it to pay for his portion of a private jet, a jet, incidentally, that we seized yesterday. Reporter: There it is being towed away from a southern California airport. It is lawyer 101. You do not steal your client's money. Reporter: One of alleged victims, Geoffrey Johnson, a prosecutors say avennatti drained almost all of the $4 million he got in a settlement from L.A. County, giving Johnson only money for rent at an assisted living facility. Tonight, the man's lawyer saying avenatti's actions have left Mr. Johnson destitute. Avenatti, who is already facing extortion charges in New York, has been characteristically defiant, denying all of the allegations. I will be fully exonerated and justice will be done. Thank you. Matt Gutman with us live tonight outside federal court. And Matt, Michael avenatti is facing a second wave of charges tonight. If convicted, what kind of prison time could he face? Reporter: And enormous amount, David. If convicted on all of those charges, he faces a combined maximum of nearly 400 years. That is a life sentence. And tonight, we are told that the prosecutor's office is aware of additional victims and it is possible we might see additional tonight, avenatti weighing in again, saying he denies all of the allegations and saying he is innocent. David? Matt Gutman with us live tonight. Matt, thank you.
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