Judge Poised to Force Michael Avenatti to Open Books in Divorce Case
Stormy Daniels’ lawyer claims he has paid his ex-wife what he owes, but she says he's behind $1.7 million in child and spousal support.
Michael Avenatti failed in a bid to have a court examination of his finances thrown out Friday as his contentious divorce battle rattled on.
However Avenatti—famous for representing porn star Stormy Daniels in her lawsuit against President Trump and for toying with the idea of running for the White House himself—filed new paperwork objecting to the investigation and the judge continued the hearing and told the pair to return to court in two weeks, when he will decide if the exam should go ahead.
Avenatti is locked in a fierce divorce battle with ex-wife Lisa Storie-Avenatti. She claims that while he has paid her $331,500, he still owes more than $146,000 in child support and $1.6 million in spousal support.
But Avenatti's lawyer, Saul Gelbart, claimed his client has “no existing debt” to his ex and that he has paid or transferred assets totaling $3.3 million to her.
The total, Avenatti claims, includes half the interest in a $4 million jet, $340,000 worth of art, and $140,000 worth of “equity” in a Ferrari. He contends that Storie-Avenatti also reaped another $450,000 when she took all the money in Bank of America and Goldman Sachs accounts that were in her name but should be considered community property.
In a statement to The Daily Beast, Storie-Avenatti disputed that her former husband had paid up.
“Most of the assets in the agreement cannot be liquidated,” she said. “The plane was not solely owned by Mr. Avenatti and the current status of ownership is unknown. The Ferrari is a leased car in my name with no equity. The watches he had taken a loan against and there was no real value.”
The warring ex-spouses were married in 2011 and separated in 2017; they have a young son. As they appeared in Superior Court in Orange County, Avenatti’s former employee, Jason Frank, came to court to watch proceedings.
Frank is embroiled in a separate financial dispute with Avenatti. A judge has ordered Avenatti’s firm to pay Frank $10 million, and Frank also wants Avenatti to undergo a debtor examination in his case.
Outside court, after the hearing, Avenatti told the Daily Beast it did not matter that the judge had denied his motion to quash and called today's hearing “a big nothing.”
”Why don't you guys write about something people care about, like federal workers who aren't getting paid?”