The hearing will seek to discover if Avenatti misappropriated $840,000 in settlement money owed to his client Gregory Barela. Barela made continued inquiries about the funds to Avenatti, and the attorney allegedly kept the cash for himself. He still owes Barela $710,000 but denies any wrongdoing.
Avenatti made several comments to reporters waiting outside the Los Angeles courtroom and characterized the proceedings as a political hit job and a "complete joke."
"The entire thing is going to be shown to be politically motivated," he told reporters before the hearing started.
“[The] only witness is a career criminal with a history of lying who just happens to be represented with all the attorneys in America, all the attorneys in L.A.," Avenatti added. "He’s represented by the president’s national security advisor’s law firm. What are the chances? What a complete joke.”
He also claimed the hearing had nothing to do with disbarment and asked the media to include that in their reporting.
“This is not a disbarment proceeding," he said. "It’s not a step towards disbarment, and it has nothing to do with disbarment. In the unlikely event that there ever is a disbarment proceeding, the court has already ruled that it’s likely years away."
Avenatti added, "So please do not misreport what this is about. This has nothing to do with disbarment... This is a dog and pony show and this entire thing is going to be shown to be politically motivated and a bunch of bullshit.”
Avenatti, who is known best for representing porn actress Stormy Daniels in her suit against Trump, is also facing extortion charges in New York and California for committing wire fraud and allegedly stealing millions from Nike.
The state bar claims Avenatti poses a risk to the public at large and believes there is a "reasonable probability" he will be disbarred.
Fox News' Melissa Chrise contributed to this report