Michael Avenatti pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to charges that he stole nearly $300,000 from his former client, adult-film actress Stormy Daniels. He is charged with stealing Daniels’ book advance, which was worth nearly $300,000, and using that money to pay employees of his law firm and a coffee business he owned. The typically camera-ready Avenatti cut a noticeably low profile as public defender Sylvia Levine entered a not-guilty plea on his behalf. He said nothing during the brief arraignment in Manhattan federal court. Avenatti has said he expects to hire private counsel for the remainder of his numerous court appearances. He was released on a $300,000 bond and ordered to have no contact with Daniels except in the presence of counsel. He also faces arraignment later Tuesday in a separate case in which he’s been accused of attempting to extort Nike for up to $25 million.
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