The long-anticipated trial between one-time allies, porn actress Stormy Daniels and her former lawyer Micahel Avenatti, kicked off  in New York City on Monday. Prosecutors are attempting to prove that Avenatti defrauded Daniels of over $300,000 in book proceeds.

“The government is spending millions of dollars to prosecute me for a  case that should have never been filed. Meanwhile, they continue to allow Trump and his co-conspirators to walk free and suffer no consequences for their criminal conduct,” Avenatti said through a publicist this weekend.

This is Avenatti’s third financial criminal trial since his rise in fame after representing Daniels when she sued Trump over a claim he paid her hush money to cover an affair. The suit was ultimately dismissed, but Trump was ordered to pay her legal fees.

Avenatti and Daniels were still on good terms as she was writing her book Full Disclosure, which was published in October 2018. He even contributed a forward to the book. In May 2019, however, Avenatti began facing legal action, including his charge related to Daniels’ book.

According to federal prosecutors, Avenatti used a doctored document to procure the $300,000, which was part of a book deal intended for Daniels. He then reportedly used the money for personal and business expenses, and only paid half of the money back afterward.

Avenatti has denied these claims, and hit back on Twitter with a claim that Daniels “received millions of dollars worth of legal services,” from him and “directly paid only $100,000 for all that she received.”

As for the lawyer’s other past legal issues, he since has been convicted in one and awaits results in another following a mistrial. His conviction was in a New York court for attempting to extort Nike out of a reported $25 million in exchange for canceling a press conference where he intended to reveal damaging claims about the company.

He faces charges in California against former clients that claim he has embezzled funds from their accounts among other accusations, but a mistrial stalled those proceedings.

For a once-successful attorney that was considering a 2020 presidential run, Avenatti has fallen rather far out of favor in the public eye. He was suspended from practicing law in May of 2020 and still has yet to serve his 30-month jail sentence for his conviction in the Nike case.

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