Tennessee Republican Rep. Mark Green said a bipartisan immigration deal would be “a huge win,” adding he thinks “it’s time.”
“I think everybody knows it’s a crisis so we have to do something about the border. We have to do something about immigration and if we can put it all together that would be a huge win,” Green, who serves on the House Committee on Homeland Security, said on “America’s Newsroom” Friday.
“I think the Democrats haven’t had a win in this cycle. The president is leading. He’s made changes on taxes, regulations. He called it a crisis when it was a crisis, when it began. Now [Obama’s Former Homeland Security Secretary] Jeh Johnson is out saying it’s a crisis, so the Democrats are wanting perhaps to do something and Leader McConnell knows what’s going on in the Senate, he’s got a read on that so he’s going to take advantage of it and I think it’s time.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called for bipartisan talks aimed at strengthening asylum laws and addressing border security, issuing a bid for negotiations amid a surge of migrants overwhelming the southern border and President Donald Trump’s continued calls to clamp down on immigration.
“What we need to do is sit down in a serious, adult, bipartisan basis and try to fix the problem, because the problem is pretty obvious,” McConnell, R-Ky., said Thursday. “Border security is a part of it, but that doesn’t solve the asylum issue, and that can’t be solved, I don’t think, without some kind of statutory adjustment.”
McConnell’s comments came just hours after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said she was looking to tackle the issue.
“It’s complicated, but it isn’t hard to do if you have good intentions,” said Pelosi Thursday.
She added, “I’m not giving up on the president on this… I’m always optimistic and this has to happen. It’s inevitable.”
“That’s clearly a softening for Speaker Pelosi and maybe that’s an olive branch. I certainly hope that we can interpret it as that,” said Green in response to Pelosi’s statements. “Again, Leader McConnell came across and said, ‘Hey there’s something we can do, we can get something done here on immigration. That certainly should create hope for all of us.”
Green added: “Hopefully we can get an agreement on this and it’s sort of like playing poker right now. Nobody’s showing their cards. It’s not time. But at some point we’re all going to get in here, we’re going to negotiate, we’re going to find some common ground and hopefully get something done on immigration.”
When asked if Green would be willing to work with Pelosi on immigration he responded: “I think we’ve got to fix immigration. Clearly there are things that we’re not going to give up on. They’ve got things they’re not going to give up on. If we can find that sort of middle ground on some issues we can get some of this fixed and I certainly am willing to talk about that.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Source: Fox News Politics
White walkers in the White House?
Hillary Clinton joked Thursday that “Game of Thrones” most closely resembles reality in politics during a speaking engagement with her husband, former president Bill Clinton, at the Beacon Theater in New York.
“Which is closer to the reality of life in politics? Which TV show? The West Wing or Veep?” the moderator asked Clinton. “Probably Game of Thrones”, the former 2016 Democratic presidential candidate said, pausing as the crowd roared in laughter before adding “at least in my experience.”
The HBO series “Game of Thrones” first aired in 2011 and has grown wildly popular over its seven-season span. Fans became hooked on the dramatic tales of royals committing incest, dragons, flawed kings and even zombie armies all vying for power. Its final season begins airing Sunday.
While Clinton’s extensive political career may fall a few dragons short of “Game of Thrones” level controversy, the former Secretary of State addressed other dramas she’s faced in her pursuit of her own Iron Throne, most notably her experience with disgraced WikiLeaks creator Julian Assange.
WikiLeaks was accused of affecting Clinton’s shot at the White House when the organization disseminated information from stolen internal communications at the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton presidential campaign in 2016.
Assange was arrested Thursday at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London to be extradited to the U.S. where he faces conspiracy charges in stealing military secrets with Chelsea Manning, a former Army intelligence analyst who leaked classified documents to WikiLeaks.
Clinton is, therefore, no stranger to the cutthroat world of politics. the “Game of Thrones” final season, which will have a total of 13 episodes, kicks off Sunday.
Source: Fox News Politics
Former Obama White House counsel Greg Craig’s indictment this week represented a stunning fall for the high-powered Washington lawyer — who aside from his work in the Obama administration represented everyone from Bill Clinton to Ronald Reagan’s would-be assassin John Hinckley, Jr.
Now, he’s on the other side of the attorney-client coin, defending himself against an indictment alleging he made false statements and concealed information in a federal foreign lobbying investigation spun off from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe. Craig, the first prominent Democrat to be named in the probe, is accused of concealing material facts from the Justice Department about work he performed for the Ukrainian government.
“I did not participate in a scheme to mislead the government or conceal material facts,” Craig, 74, said this week, denying the charges as his lawyers called the case “a misguided abuse of prosecutorial discretion.”
In private practice, Craig’s list of clients included former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards and James Cartwright, the former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who was charged in a leak investigation.
Craig also made headlines in 2008 as one of Obama’s biggest backers. The endorsement came as a surprise to then-Democratic presidential primary candidate Hillary Clinton and her husband, both of whom knew Craig while attending Yale Law School in the early 1970s. The attorney was also tapped as special counsel to then-President Clinton during his 1998 impeachment proceedings, convincing the Senate during a trial that Clinton’s offenses weren’t cause to unseat him.
“To Greg. We struck the right pose—and you struck the right chords! Thanks — Bill Clinton, 2/99,” the former president wrote on a photo of the pair — along with the rest of the legal team — that he gifted to Craig after his acquittal, according to The New Yorker.
In November 2008, Obama announced Craig would be his White House counsel, a move that drew scrutiny given other elements of the lawyer’s history.
In the early 1980s, Craig sparked outrage for helping win then-25-year-old Hinckley, who shot former President Reagan and three others outside of a Washington, D.C., hotel, a not guilty verdict for reason of insanity, landing him in a psychiatric facility instead of a maximum-security prison. In 2016, the notorious gunman was released from the hospital to live with his elderly mother in Virginia, telling mental health professionals he’s “happy as a clam” with his new life.
Craig also became a pariah in the Cuban-American community in 2000 after helping Cuban Juan Miguel Gonzáles gain custody of his 6-year-old son Elián after his mother and others drowned in a boat trying to reach Florida. Elián had been living in the Little Havana neighborhood in Miami with his uncle at the time, but the court forced the boy to leave his extended family and return to Cuba after Craig’s victory.
Despite his controversial background, Obama defended his decision and touted Craig’s various roles in the federal government including serving as Sen. Edward Kennedy’s senior adviser on defense, foreign policy and national security issues and as senior adviser to Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. Before the election, Craig volunteered to portray the late Sen. John McCain in mock debates with Obama — a role he was easily able to emulate, as his father William was a Republican who lost Vermont’s gubernatorial race in 1976.
But his time in the Obama administration was short-lived. He resigned after one year on the job following criticism over his handling of Obama’s plan to close Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.
Craig’s work drew the Justice Department’s attention in 2012, when Craig and his law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP were hired by the Ukrainian government to write a report on the prosecution of Yulia Tymoshenko, a former Ukrainian prime minister. Tymoshenko was a political opponent of then-Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, a longtime patron of disgraced former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort who’s slated to spend a total of 81 months in prison.
In 2013, the DOJ told Craig and his firm in a letter that he was required to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) while representing Yanukovych — but the lawyer allegedly refused.
In its settlement earlier this year, Skadden acknowledged it should have registered under FARA and also confirmed it received a $4.6 million payment for the report instead of the $12,000 the Ukrainian government previously claimed.
The Thursday indictment says Craig did not want to register under FARA because doing so could keep him or others at his law firm from getting government positions and because the filing would require him to disclose the millions paid from a “private, wealthy Ukrainian.” To help hide the private funding, Craig is accused of backdating and falsifying invoices at Manafort’s request to make it appear the Ukrainian government was the sole funder of the report.
Craig is being charged with two counts of making false and misleading statements to investigators — including Mueller’s team, which uncovered his purported wrongdoings while investigating Manafort as part of the Russia probe — in connection with his work on behalf of Yanukovych.
“This indictment accuses Mr. Craig of misleading the FARA Unit of the Department of Justice in order to avoid registration. It is itself unfair and misleading. It ignores uncontroverted evidence to the contrary. Mr. Craig had no interest in misleading the FARA Unit because he had not done anything that required his registration,” Craig’s attorneys, William Taylor and William Murphy, said in response.
Fox News’ Gregg Re and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Source: Fox News Politics
Sen. Bernie Sanders is back on the campaign trail.
The 77-year-old self-proclaimed Democratic socialist is once again making a bid for the White House, joining a growing number of lawmakers who plan to take on President Trump in the 2020 presidential election.
Sanders will join Fox News Channel for a town hall co-anchored by Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum on Monday, April 15, at 6:30 p.m. ET in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
As the seasoned Vermont senator starts stumping for 2020, here’s a look at where he stands on key issues such as gun control, healthcare and the economy.
Sanders’ name has arguably become synonymous with Medicare-for-All, a bill he introduced in 2017. The goal? To achieve universal healthcare.
In a nutshell, the single-payer health insurance plan would require all U.S. residents to be covered with no copays and deductibles for medical services. The insurance industry would be regulated to play a minor role in the system.
In other words: A government-run system would replace private health insurance offered through employers, which is the mainstay of coverage some 160 million people.
Sanders recently released an updated version of the legislation, adding coverage for long-term care. Several presidential hopefuls — namely Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. and Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J. — have already endorsed the new bill.
But the program, which would likely be financed through large tax increases, has been knocked by critics for its expected cost.
Though single-payer healthcare could reportedly save taxpayers roughly $500 billion a year, according to FeelTheBern.org, the plan’s cost could up federal spending by more than $2 trillion per year, according to The New York Times, while several independent studies on the program have estimated it could increase government spending on health care to $25 trillion to $35 trillion or more over a 10-year period.
Sanders is a huge proponent of tuition-free public colleges and universities.
Under the “College for All Act”, which Sanders first introduced in May 2015, per his website, the government would “provide $47 billion in federal funding to incentivize states to increase investments in their public higher education systems and eliminate tuition for undergraduate students.”
Total tuition costs at public colleges and universities totals to roughly $70 billion annually, according to Sanders’ campaign. Under the legislation, the federal government would cover $47 billion of that cost, or 67 percent, while states would shoulder $23 billion, or the remaining 33 percent.
“The legislation would eliminate tuition and fees at four-year public colleges and universities for families making up to $125,000 — about 80 percent of the population — and make community college tuition- and fee-free for all,” according to a 2017 statement on the legislation.
“College tuition is free in Germany, even for citizens of other countries. It’s also free in Denmark, Norway Sweden, Finland, Ireland, Iceland, and Mexico. If they can do it, why can’t we?” questioned Sanders in a 2015 editorial for the Huffington Post. “Why do we accept a situation where hundreds of thousands of qualified people are unable to go to college because their families don’t have enough money?”
Sanders supports immigration reform to address the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants living in the U.S., but the ways in which he thinks the government should go about such a reform largely differs from his Republican and conservative-minded colleagues.
“What I do not support is, under the guise of immigrant reform, a process pushed by large corporations which result in more unemployment and lower wages for American workers,” Sanders told The Washington Post in 2013.
Sanders in 2013 voted in favor of the Senate immigration bill which “proposed a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, doubling the number of border patrol officers, and providing an additional 350 miles of border fencing,” according to PBS, which noted the bill failed to become law.
The senator has also called for the restructuring of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
In July 2018, Sanders called for the abolishment of the “cruel, dysfunctional immigration system we have today and pass comprehensive immigration reform.”
“That will mean restructuring the agencies that enforce our immigration laws, including ICE. We must not be about tearing small children away from their families. We must not be about deporting DREAMers, young people who have lived in this country virtually their entire lives,” he tweeted, in part, though did not detail at the time how he would plan to abolish the program.
Sanders, too, supported the 2007 Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act, which would grant legal status to a group of undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children. He later co-sponsored the act in 2011 when it was reintroduced, according to FeelTheBern.org.
Sanders is a supporter of “middle-ground legislation” when it comes to gun control, according to FeelTheBern.org.
“As such, he understands that Americans in rural areas have a very different view towards guns as do those who live in densely populated urban environments. Bernie believes in a solution which promotes gun rights for those who wish to possess them while also ensuring their safe and secure use so that they cannot be used to harm fellow human beings,” reads the website, which noted the senator in the past has voted for a nationwide ban on assault weapons, expanded background checks and a ban on “high capacity magazine over ten rounds.”
In a 2016 speech, Sanders said most Americans who own and use guns are “law-abiding people” and pushed for a “common sense proposal on guns that will have the support, not of everybody, but a significant majority of American people.”
He went on to say those with criminal records or mental health issues should not own guns, echoing his comments from a 2015 NPR interview.
“We need strong sensible gun control, and I will support it,” Sanders told the news outlet at the time. “But some people think it’s going to solve all of our problems, and it’s not. You know what, we have a crisis in the capability of addressing mental health illness in this country. When people are hurting and are prepared to do something terrible, we need to do something immediately. We don’t have that and we should have that.”
Sanders has touted raising the so-called estate tax to “invest in the disappearing middle class” and close what he has said is a growing gap between the wealthy and the rest of the country.
Rather recently, in January, Sanders revealed a plan to expand the federal estate tax, which he said on Twitter would only apply to the “richest 0.2 [percent] of Americans,” or those who inherit $3.5 million or more.
That said, Sanders’ plan was largely different than a bill proposed by some a few of his Republican counterparts.
Days before, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Sen. Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa, and Sen. John Thune, R-S.D. introduced a plan to scrap the estate tax altogether. Sanders in a tweet slammed the bill as “absurd.”
Sanders has also made pushes throughout the years to increase the minimum wage.
He recently reintroduced legislation to increase the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2024.
“While the official unemployment rate is relatively low, too many workers in America today are making wages that don’t pay enough to make ends meet. Workers and their families cannot make it on $9 an hour or $10 an hour – or even less,” Sanders said in a statement in November, claiming it would give 40 million workers a raise. “We have got to raise the minimum wage in this country to a living wage – at least $15 an hour.”
At least 20 states increased their minimum wages since the start of the New Year, according to Fox Business.
Fox News’ Jennifer Earl and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Source: Fox News Politics
Congressional Democrats who are calling into question the credibility of U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr in wake of the release of the Mueller report should leave him alone and “let him do his job,” Sen. John Kennedy said.
The Louisiana Republican said on Fox News’ “America’s Newsroom” on Friday that there is a group of “wholly dishonest” members of the Democratic Party that believed that the findings by special counsel Robert Mueller into the Russia probe thought it would be the “second coming of the apocalypse.”
Instead, he said, they were disappointed by the findings and are now attacking the process and Barr, who issued a summary of the nearly 400-page document. He said Barr is being used as a “punching bag for something he didn’t do.”
Barr is under scrutiny from congressional Democrats as he prepares a redacted version of Mueller’s report on the Russia investigation.
“Here is my advice for my friends on the Democratic side who are in bad faith. Number one, leave Bill Barr alone. Let him do his job,” Kennedy said. “We’ll have the report next week. The redacted report. If every third word is redacted and you can’t make any sense out of it, I’ll join them raising fresh hell.”
He continued: “Number two, he is not a moron. He knows if he does that he will be heavily criticized by both Democrats and Republicans. I don’t think he will do it. My final bit of advice for my Democratic friends is, look, never corner somebody meaner.”
Mueller concluded his investigation last month and submitted a nearly 400-page confidential report to Barr.
The attorney general then sent Congress a four-page letter that detailed Mueller’s “principal conclusions.” Democrats have questioned how Barr could boil down Mueller’s full report so quickly and allege that it may have been written in a favorable way for the president.
In his letter, Barr said the special counsel did not find a criminal conspiracy between Russia and Trump associates during the campaign, but Mueller did not reach a definitive conclusion on whether Trump obstructed justice. Instead, Mueller presented evidence on both sides of the obstruction question, but Barr said he did not believe the evidence was sufficient to prove that Trump had obstructed justice.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Source: Fox News Politics
Bill Richardson, former US ambassador to the United Nations, said Friday he does not support the idea of a third summit with North Korea but instead backs the idea of a series of smaller deals with Pyongyang over its nuclear intentions.
“I believe right now that a summit with Kim Jong Un would not be a good idea,” Richardson told America’s Newsroom.
President Trump on Thursday said he would be open to a third meeting with the North Korean leader despite their last summit abruptly ending six weeks ago in Vietnam, producing no breakthrough. Speaking before an Oval Office meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Thursday, Trump seemed to open the door to a series of smaller negotiations with North Korea.
“There are various smaller deals that maybe could happen,” Trump said. “Things could happen. You can work out step-by-step pieces, but at this moment we are talking about the big deal. The big deal is we have to get rid of the nuclear weapons.”
Trump stopped short of saying he’d ease sanctions on North Korea but also said he’d decided not to impose additional penalties on the Asian country, a testament he says to his relationship with the North Korean dictator.
But Richardson believes that smaller deals would show “flexibility on both sides.”
“Maybe North Korea freezes its nuclear missile development or activity, shuts down that Yongbyon nuclear facility and in return the United States has some sanctions relief because both sides are really far apart,” Richardson said. “North Korea wants all sanctions relief on everything – we can’t do that. And we want North Korea to totally denuclearize… that’s not going to happen, so something in between.”
Richardson adds that Trump should leave the deal-making to professional negotiators or the State Department.
South Korea has also come out in recent days and said that the breakdown in talks in Vietnam should not be seen as a failure but as the catalyst to a bigger and better deal between North Korea and the U.S. South Korea, which is right in the line of fire of North Korea, has also been pushing for a third summit.
“(South Korean President Moon Jae-in) wants a deal between the U.S. and North Korea because it’s good politically for him… it’s good for his country,” Richardson said. “In some ways… he’s pushed us a little too far to make deals when we have to coordinate better.”
Source: Fox News World
Before his legal troubles, Assange looked like a different man, as seen here at the Swedish Trade Union Confederation headquarters in Stockholm, Aug. 14, 2010.
Bertil Ericson /TT News Agency via AP
Source: Fox News World
The former mayor of a Florida town – who is facing multiple charges, including allegedly shooting at cops and conspiring to impede an investigation against him – reportedly smoked crack cocaine nightly and used meth while he was still in office.
The new allegations against former Port Richey Mayor Dale Massad were revealed in court records obtained by the Tampa Bay Times on Thursday. Massad, while he was in office, allegedly received drugs via drug runners and acted as a doctor for friends at his home, the newspaper reported.
An investigation into Massad was reportedly launched after authorities received tips that Massad was engaging in corruption, using drugs and acting as a doctor in his home. Massad had previously lost his medical license in 1992 over a toddler’s death, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
Massad was arrested in February for allegedly shooting at Pasco County sheriff’s deputies who were trying to serve a search warrant at his residence after reports he was operating an illegal medical practice at his home. He eventually surrendered to police and was taken into custody.
Massad was then re-arrested in March, along with the town’s acting Mayor Terrence Rowe, for allegedly conspiring to intimidate a city police officer who was involved in his February arrest.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement said at the time it received information the two men had discussed ways to intimidate the police officer during a recorded phone call in March at the Pasco County Jail.
Court records, obtained by the Tampa Bay Times, revealed Massad bought crystal methamphetamine from a man named Corey White. He nicknamed the drug “jet fuel” and White told officers he had delivered the drug to the mayor dozens of times. Massad would also arrange others to buy the drugs for him, according to the documents.
Massad’s lawyers have maintained the former mayor is innocent of the allegations against him.
Bjorn Brunvand told the Tampa Bay Times the people who spoke to law enforcement shouldn’t be considered credible.
“We have to be very, very careful about how much weight we give to those individuals,” he told the paper.
Fox News’ Lucia I. Suarez Sang contributed to this report.
Source: Fox News National
It’s a mashed Mississippi mystery.
Jackson residents were mystified after bowls of mashed potatoes suddenly appeared on their cars, porches and mailboxes.
Jordan Lewis described the Belhaven neighborhood as a quirky one, with residents decorating road signs and putting Christmas trees in potholes.
But the probe into the puzzling potato problem is even new for them.
Lewis told WLBT-TV she spotted her first bowl of mashed potatoes on her car’s windshield.
“I walked outside yesterday morning at 7 a.m. and I got in my car and that’s when I noticed a white bowl on my windshield. It was full of rainwater. I threw it away and I was grossed out by it,” she said. “I just thought this is a harmless prank by some kids or college students in the area.”
Michaela Lin said she found a bowl of mashed potatoes on her mailbox. She said some of the potato-finders have connections to Belhaven University, a local private Christian university, which may be a clue.
“So far I have realized some of the ‘victims’ of the mashed potatoes are actually staff or Belhaven students or alumni. I feel like there has to be a connection there!” Lin told WLBT-TV.
However, Sebastian Bjernegard said some residents fear there’s a more sinister message behind the potatoes.
“Some people were thinking maybe the mashed potatoes were poisoned to kill animals,” he told WJTV, noting he almost stepped into a bowl of potatoes Tuesday. “I didn’t taste it. I have a three-second rule, so I didn’t touch it. But some people were worried.”
It was not immediately clear if anyone has eaten the potatoes. News outlets reported residents have not alerted law enforcement.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Source: Fox News National
Michael Avenatti, the former Stormy Daniels attorney and once-rumored 2020 presidential candidate, is now facing up to 335 years in prison after being slapped with three dozen new federal charges alleging he stole millions of dollars from his clients, failed to pay taxes and lied in bankruptcy cases, amongst other accusations.
The 48-year-old was indicted late Wednesday by a Southern California grand jury following his arrest last month in New York for allegedly trying to shake down Nike for up to $25 million.
“I intend to fully fight all charges and plead NOT GUILTY,” Avenatti posted on Twitter Thursday after being freed on a $300,000 bond. “I look forward to the entire truth being known as opposed to a one-sided version meant to sideline me.”
If convicted on all of the new charges, Avenatti would face 335 years in prison, federal investigators say. He is scheduled to be arraigned on April 29 in United States District Court in Santa Ana. The Los Angeles Times says Avenatti already faces up to 47 more years if convicted in the Nike case.
“These four areas of criminal conduct alleged in the indictment are all linked to one another because money generated from one set of crimes appears in other sets – typically in the form of payments to lull victims and to prevent Mr. Avenatti’s financial house of cards from collapsing,” United States Attorney Nick Hanna said Thursday.
The 61-page indictment alleges Avenatti embezzled from a paraplegic man and four other clients and deceived them by shuffling money between accounts to pay off small portions of what they were due to lull them into thinking they were getting paid.
Avenatti is also charged with not paying personal income taxes, not paying taxes for his various businesses, including two law firms, and pocketing payroll taxes from the Tully’s Coffee chain that he owned, the indictment said.
Between September 2015 and January 2018, Global Baristas US, the company that operated Tully’s, failed to pay the Internal Revenue Service $3.2 million in payroll taxes, including nearly $2.4 million withheld from employees, the indictment said.
When the IRS put tax levies on coffee company bank accounts to collect more than $5 million, Avenatti had Tully’s employees deposit cash receipts in a little-known account, the indictment said.
Avenatti was also charged with submitting fraudulent tax returns to get more than $4 million in loans from The Peoples Bank in Biloxi, Mississippi, in 2014. The tax returns he presented to the bank were never filed to the IRS, prosecutors have said.
“For 20 years, I have represented Davids vs. Goliaths and relied on due process and our system of justice,” Avenatti tweeted Thursday. “Along the way, I have made many powerful enemies. I am entitled to a FULL presumption of innocence and am confident that justice will be done once ALL of the facts are known.”
The charges are the latest major blow to a career that took off last year when Avenatti represented Daniels in her lawsuit to break a confidentiality agreement with Trump to stay quiet about an affair they allegedly had.
Avenatti became one of Trump’s leading adversaries, attacking him on cable news programs and Twitter. At one point, Avenatti even considered challenging Trump for the White House in 2020.
But back home, his business practices had come under scrutiny from the IRS and a former law partner who was owed $14 million by Avenatti and the Eagan Avenatti firm, which filed for bankruptcy.
And now the tables have turned in part on Twitter, with Avenatti getting ripped by the same figures he has gone after, like Donald Trump Jr.
“Good news for my friend @MichaelAvenatti, if you plead fast enough, you might just get to share a cell with Michael Cohen!” the president’s son quipped in late March following the emergence of the Avenatti-Nike allegations.
The new indictment also says Avenatti made false statements in bankruptcy proceedings by submitting forms under penalty of perjury that under reported income his firm received.
The most glaring example of deception and fraud was described in the indictment as scheming Avenatti allegedly did to deprive clients of money they were due from legal settlements or sales of stock and the actions he took to cover his tracks.
In a case involving one client, Avenatti allegedly funneled a $2.75 million settlement into his bank accounts and spent $2.5 million on a private airplane, the indictment said.
Although Avenatti was due a portion of settlement funds for his work, the charges said he paid only a fraction of the money clients were due in some cases and strung them along while they waited to be paid.
Avenatti allegedly drained a $4 million settlement he negotiated in 2015 on behalf of Geoffrey Johnson, who was paralyzed after trying to kill himself in the Los Angeles County jail, the indictment said. Johnson was referred to as “Client 1” in the indictment, but was named at a recent court hearing involving the money Avenatti was ordered to pay his former partner.
Until last month, Avenatti had only provided $124,000 over 69 payments to Johnson, the indictment said.
Two years after the settlement was reached, Avenatti allegedly helped Johnson find a real estate agent to buy a house. But when Johnson was in escrow to purchase the property, Avenatti falsely said he had not received the settlement funds, the indictment said.
In November, when the U.S. Social Security Administration requested information to determine if Johnson should continue to receive disability benefits, Avenatti said he would respond, but didn’t because he knew it could lead to the discovery of his embezzlement, the indictment said. The failure to respond led to Johnson’s disability benefits being cut off in February.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Source: Fox News National