Avenatti: Trump aims Justice Department at political enemies

California attorney Michael Avenatti makes a statement to the press after leaving a courthouse in New York Tuesday, July 23, 2019. Avenatti is accused of cheating porn star Stormy Daniels out of $300,000 in a book deal. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
California attorney Michael Avenatti makes a statement to the press after leaving a courthouse in New York Tuesday, July 23, 2019. Avenatti is accused of cheating porn star Stormy Daniels out of $300,000 in a book deal. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)
Michael Avenatti makes a statement to the press as he leaves federal court, in New York, Tuesday, July 23, 2019. Avenatti faces charges accusing him of cheating porn star Stormy Daniels out of $300,000 in a book deal. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
California attorney Michael Avenatti walks from a courthouse in New York Tuesday, July 23, 2019, after facing charges accusing him of cheating porn star Stormy Daniels out of $300,000 in a book deal. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)
FILE - In this May 28, 2019, file photo, California attorney Michael Avenatti leaves a courthouse in New York following a hearing. Avenatti is due to return to a New York court Tuesday, July 23, 2019, to face charges accusing him of cheating porn star Stormy Daniels out of $300,000 in a book deal. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

NEW YORK — Michael Avenatti has told reporters President Donald Trump is the real criminal after the California attorney appeared at a New York hearing on charges he cheated porn star Stormy Daniels of book proceeds.

Avenatti called Trump a "third-rate mobster" who unleashes his Justice Department on his "most ardent political enemies."

Avenatti has pleaded not guilty to charges he cheated Daniels of $300,000. Avenatti once represented Daniels regarding an alleged affair with Trump.

His court appearance was brief. A judge said she hopes to decide by October whether to move the criminal case to California.

Avenatti faces criminal charges in New York and Los Angeles related to claims he tried to extort up to $25 million from Nike and defrauded clients in California. He denies all allegations.

In a tweet last year, Trump called Avenatti "a third rate lawyer who is good at making false accusations" and "a total low-life!"

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