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Criminal Justice

Lawyer Michael Avenatti has been charged with stealing from adult film actress Stormy Daniels, the client he represented in a bid to invalidate her confidentiality agreement with President Donald Trump.

Avenatti is accused of diverting to his own client trust account nearly $300,000 of an advance due to Daniels, whose legal name is Stephanie Clifford, for a book deal that he helped negotiate on her behalf. Avenatti obtained the money by sending a fraudulent letter with a fake signature for Daniels to her literary agent, according to allegations in a press release and the indictment.

The indictment doesn t identify Daniels by name, but the details make clear that she was the allegedly defrauded client, report the Associated Press, the New York Times, Courthouse News Service, the New York Law Journal and Reuters. A person close to the case confirmed to the New York Times that Daniels was the person called Victim-1 in the indictment.

Avenatti used the money for airfare, hotels, car services, restaurants and meal delivery, online retailers, a lease payment on his Ferrari, payroll for his law firm and another business that he owned, and insurance, according to prosecutors....