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Trump foe Michael Avenatti to face embezzlement charge in Los Angeles court

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Attorney Michael Avenatti, who represented adult film star Stormy Daniels in her legal battles with U.S. President Donald Trump, is set to appear in the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles on Monday to face embezzlement and fraud charges.

Avenatti also faces separate charges in New York in what prosecutors called a bid to “shake down” Nike Inc for more than $20 million.

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Avenatti, 48, was arrested on March 25 after two separate indictments by federal courts in Los Angeles and New York that charged him with the Nike scheme as well as embezzlement and fraud over accusations he misused a client’s money.

Avenatti has repeatedly proclaimed his innocence of all charges.

In the Los Angeles case, prosecutors have accused Avenatti of misusing a client’s $1.6 million settlement to pay for his own expenses and also expenses related to his coffee business.

He is also accused of defrauding a Mississippi bank of $4.1 million in loans by submitting false tax returns inflating his income for 2011 to 2013.

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In New York, prosecutors said Avenatti and a co-conspirator, whom they did not name, met Nike’s attorneys on March 19 and told them they represented a former college basketball coach with information about Nike’s involvement in a scheme to bribe high school basketball players.

They threatened to go public unless Nike hired Avenatti to conduct an internal investigation for $15 million to $25 million, and paid an additional $1.5 million to the client, according to prosecutors.

Avenatti also offered to accept a $22.5 million payment for his silence, prosecutors said.

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Avenatti faces up to 30 years in prison on the most serious charge in California and up to 20 years for the top charge in New York.

Reporting by Rich McKay in Atlanta; Editing by Clarence Fernandez


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CNN’s Toobin says all evidence points to Trump running an extortion scheme for political dirt

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On Monday's edition of CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360," chief legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin laid out how all the evidence points to President Donald Trump attempting to extort Ukraine for political dirt — even the evidence Trump himself has put forward to the public voluntarily.

"May 14th, Trump tells Vice President Pence not to attend Zelensky, the Ukrainian president's inauguration," said Cooper. "July 18th, Trump decides to withhold nearly $400 million in aid to Ukraine that's already been passed by Congress. July 25th is that Trump and Zelensky phone call. I mean, I don't know if it's, you know, if it begins with the call from Putin, but there certainly is a lot of activity, a lot of dominos falling."

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Connecticut town’s KKK history recalled ahead of controversial upcoming GOP event

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The town of Shelton, Connecticut was brutally whacked for its history of racism ahead of a Connecticut Republican Party event.

"Fun fact. In the 1980s, the Imperial Wizard (the national leader) of the Ku Klux Klan lived in Connecticut," columnist Colin McEnroe noted in The Middletown Press.

The host of WNPR's "The Colin McEnroe Show" explained how James Farrands ran the KKK out of his garage in Shelton.

"This may be an unfair memory to bring up, right when Shelton is having another bad run. In recent weeks, the school system there had to deal with a Snapchat pic of a student in blackface lifting both middle fingers and using a common distasteful racial epithet," McEnroe explained.

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Trump’s attack on congressional legitimacy ‘boggles the mind’: Ex-Whitewater counsel

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On Monday's edition of CNN's "OutFront," former Whitewater senior counsel Paul Rosenzweig and anchor Erin Burnett discussed how Alexander Hamilton warned about leaders like Trump in his writings — and the president's stunning declaration of the impeachment probe as "crap" and "illegitimate."

"Historian Ron Chernow, whose biography on Hamilton is the biography, the one used for the Broadway musical, wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post," said Burnett. "He says Hamilton, who was a defender of executive power, would have supported impeaching Donald Trump. He cites one of his Federalist Papers, where Hamilton writes, in part, 'When a man unprincipled in his private life, desperate in his fortune, bold in his temper ... when such a man is seen to mount the hobby horse of popularity to take every opportunity of embarrassing the general government and bringing it under suspicion, it may justly be suspected that his object is to throw things into confusion that he may ride the storm and direct the whirlwind.' Hamilton warning such a leader will become a demagogue and a tyrant ... Does it sound like Hamilton, even so long ago, could have been warning about a person like President Trump, Paul?"

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