As Michael Avenatti floats a 2020 presidential run, court records reveal the lawyer and his companies owed millions in unpaid taxes and judgments.

On the Fourth of July, Michael Avenatti suited up for a CNN interview and floated his name as a contender against President Trump in 2020.

Asked why he’d be qualified, Avenatti told anchor Jim Sciutto, “Because I have three things that this president lacks, Jim—brains, heart and courage. And I think I have those in spades compared to this president.”

Scuitto then told Avenatti he’d face scrutiny over his finances, including his former law firm’s then-unpaid $2.4-million bill to the IRS. “You know, look, I’ll be happy to put my tax records and background up against the president’s background and his tax records. Of course, he won’t release any of that information,” Avenatti replied, before changing the subject to his political platform.

Now Avenatti, the tenacious California litigator made famous for representing Stormy Daniels in her legal tangles with Trump, is gearing up for a 2020 presidential run, stumping across the country and raising cash with his new political action committee, Fight PAC.

But the questions over his finances remain—and could become a sore spot on the campaign trail, as creditors pursue him and his former companies. Both the Eagan Avenatti law firm and a shuttered Seattle coffee chain, which Avenatti says he no longer owns, owe millions in unpaid taxes and judgments, according to court documents and filings with local recorder’s offices.

Tax liens filed in Orange County also show that Avenatti has personally owed at least $1.2 million in federal taxes on top of the corporate debts. One lien, filed in February 2018, was for $308,396, while another filed in August 2015 showed a balance of $903,987. The Daily Beast did not find records showing the liens were released, but Avenatti claims both debts were “fully paid.”

FULL STORY: A String of Big Debts