Embattled attorney Michael Avenatti Friday fired back at attorney Dan Callahn, who is suing him on behalf of a paraplegic man who claims Avenatti bilked him out of a $4 million settlement by pointing out Callahan settled an insider trading dispute with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
On Friday, Avenatti tweeted, “Meet Daniel Callahan — the attorney with close ties to Trump who filed a bogus lawsuit against me yesterday and then held a press conference in which he attacked my ethics. You can’t make this stuff up.”
Avenatti included a link in his tweet to a Feb. 8 document detailing the SEC settlement with Callahan, a Dana Point resident who has offices in Santa Ana.
The SEC alleged that Callahan, who was an “outside legal counsel to Monster Beverage Corporation” acted on inside information about a “nearly finalized” deal for a partnership between Monster and Coca-Cola.
“On June 30, 2014, one week after a due diligence call in which his law firm participated, Callahan directed the purchase of a total of 850 shares of Monster common stock in two accounts he controlled on the basis of material, nonpublic information about the pending deal,” the SEC reported.
On Aug. 14, 2014, the partnership deal was announced, increasing Monster’s stock price by 30%, so as a result “Callahan made profits totally $19,386.97,” according to the SEC.
As part of the settlement, Callahan agreed to give up the $19,386.97 with interest of $3,291.62 and pay a penalty.
Callahan fired back at Avenatti, saying, “Only an unethical attorney who stole almost $4 million from a paraplegic client and under federal indictment for doing so would try to spin his way out of a lawsuit. You can’t make this up.”
In an email to City News Service, Avenatti responded, “I, unlike Dan Callahan, haven’t been found guilty of anything.”
Callahan is representing former Avenatti client Geoffrey Johnson, who won a $4 million settlement from Los Angeles County related to injuries he sustained while in custody in Los Angeles County Jail that left him wheelchair bound.
Callahan’s lawsuit alleges Avenatti and others in his former law firm cheated Johnson out of his settlement, but Avenatti argued that Johnson agreed to all aspects of the payments made to him and that his firm paid for Johnson’s medical and living expenses for years.
Avenatti gained notoriety last year when he challenged a nondisclosure agreement his former client adult actress Stormy Daniels signed to keep quiet about an alleged affair with President Donald Trump.
Avenatti, who has also been charged with embezzling a book fee from Daniels in New York City, has hired his attorney in California, Dean Steward, to also represent him on that case in New York federal court.
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