Judge Says MISTRIAL in Michael Avenatti Fraud Case as Prosecutors “Fail” to Testify

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A California judge declared the trial overturned Tuesday in the embezzlement lawsuit of disgraced lawyer Michael Avenatti after he was accused of stealing millions of settlement money from his clients.

US District Judge James V. Selna has ruled on technical grounds that federal prosecutors committed a “Brady violation” by failing to turn over relevant financial evidence to Avenatti.

The disgraced lawyer was previously sentenced in July to 2.5 years in prison in a $ 25 million extortion case against Nike in New York.

Another hearing in the case has been set for September 2 and Selna has set a new tentative trial date for October 12.

Avenatti, who rose to fame portraying pornographic actress Stormy Daniels in his lawsuit against former President Donald Trump, has become a media darling and has appeared on CNN several times to criticize the former president.

Southern California federal prosecutors have accused Avenatti of cheating five of his clients over nearly $ 10 million by negotiating and collecting settlements on their behalf and funneling payments into accounts he controlled while lying to them about what happened to the money.

Avenatti case declared technically overturned by Southern California judge

This is the second trial in recent months for the disgraced lawyer, who was sentenced to more than two years in prison by a New York court.

This is the second trial in recent months for the disgraced lawyer, who was sentenced to more than two years in prison by a New York court.

Avenatti, is suspended from practicing law in California but was representing himself at trial.

He pleaded not guilty to 10 counts of wire fraud in connection with the allegations spanning 2015 to 2019.

He denied embezzling money and said his law firm had the right to recoup the expenses if any deals were made.

US District Judge James V. Selna cited Brady v.  Maryland in its decision

US District Judge James V. Selna cited Brady v. Maryland in its decision

The cancellation of the trial was first reported by Law360.

Selna said he had found “no fault, intentional or otherwise” on the part of federal investigators, according to reporter Meghann Cuniff, and appeared to blame their failure to produce the necessary evidence for an oversight.

But he said Avenatti “was denied the opportunity to develop a comprehensive theory of the case” because he did not have in his possession the material obtained by the investigative team, which works separately from the prosecutors. .

The justice official said the government was “under no obligation” to prove the exact amount he accuses Avenatti of extorting, but as the accused he was allowed to “dispute that number”.

The US attorney who led the investigation team spoke to Law360 and compared the amount of data on the server he was tasked with searching for a “small town.”

Selna cited the Supreme Court case Brady v. Maryland, which has ruled that prosecutors must turn over all evidence that could exonerate a defendant, in making their decision.

Avenatti reportedly made a statement to reporters gathered in the halls of the courtroom and said it was “a great day for the rule of law in the United States of America”.

Avenatti reportedly spoke to reporters briefly after his motion to quash trial was granted

Avenatti reportedly spoke to reporters briefly after his motion to quash trial was granted

“It was an incredibly difficult trip for my family, for my children, for my friends and finally for me. I am extremely grateful to Mr. Steward, Ms. Cummings Cefali and our entire team for standing by my side and defending tirelessly on my behalf, ”said Avenatti.

It was the second trial in recent months for the 50-year-old lawyer.

He was convicted in a Manhattan federal court after offering a tearful and creepy apology to the judge as he decried his fame, saying “TV and Twitter mean nothing.”

He must serve the sentence of two and a half years before three years of supervised release. Avenatti, who has been under house arrest, has not been remanded in custody and will begin his prison term at a later date.

He was convicted by a jury a year ago of attempting to extort Nike by threatening to use his media access to damage the brand’s reputation and during the course of action while he was representing an organizer of the Los Angeles Youth Basketball League upset that the company has ended its sponsorship of the league.

Avenatti has been accused of threatening to expose allegations that Nike was making payments to college basketball players unless the company paid him millions of dollars to conduct an internal investigation.

Daniels, whom Avenatti is accused in a separate case of cheating on her by $ 300,000, said she “can’t wait” for him to be tried again.

I can not wait ! Especially since her idiot lawyer tried to use my work on a paranormal and “witchcraft” show as a reason to reject my evidence. Can you say discrimination? I’m so excited to finally have my chance with him, ”Daniels said after the July hearing.

Avenatti previously represented Stormy Daniels in a lawsuit against Donald Trump

Avenatti previously represented Stormy Daniels in a lawsuit against Donald Trump

Before his conviction, Avenatti told the court that he had “betrayed” his profession and that he was “deeply sorry” for the pain he caused.

“I betrayed my job. I have become motivated by the things that don’t matter in life. Over the past two years, I have often wondered why this has to happen? ” he said.

“I’ve learned that all the fame, fame and money in the world doesn’t make sense. TV and Twitter mean nothing. Everyone wants to get in the limo with you, but very few are willing to sit next to you on the bus … let alone take your calls from jail.

“Despite the shame and deep remorse, I still feel positive because I can do better.”

Avenatti cried, saying, “I can’t wait to work hard to become the person I once was. I will, if given the opportunity. But I know I will never have the privilege of practicing law again.

“Me, and I alone, destroyed my career, my relationships, my life. There is no doubt that I deserve to pay, that I paid and that I will pay again for what I have done.

“Someone asked me what I wanted my three children to think of me. I want mine to be ashamed because if they are ashamed it means their moral compass is exactly where it should be.


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