Avenatti’s Criminal Trial On Extortion And Fraud Charges Begins Next Week
As far as we know, Michael Avenatti is still sitting in solitary confinement in the MCC. But fortunately for the “creepy porn lawyer,” he won’t need to wait too much longer for his day in court.
Reuters reports that lawyers in Avenatti’s extortion case in Manhattan are expected to begin voir dire – the process of selecting jurors – next week.
Avenatti is best known as an antagonist to President Trump, a one-time presidential candidate and darling CNN & MSNBC contributor. He represented porn star Stormy Daniels in her fight to break an NDA she apparently signed after an alleged affair with the president more than a decade ago. Daniels’ legal battle with Trump over allegations of defamation ended with a judgment against Daniels, who later accused Avenatti of cheating her.
The 48-year-old lawyer is charged with trying to extort Nike by threatening to publicize allegations that the sportswear company illegally paid families of college basketball recruits. According to recordings made by lawyers representing Nike (who wore a wire to the meeting after reporting his conduct to the FBI), Avenatti wanted Nike to pay him as much as $25 million to lead an ‘internal investigation’ into the company’s behavior.
In a sign that Avenatti has a propensity to lie to and cheat his clients, the lawyer is also being charged with defrauding his client, Gary Franklin, a coach in a youth basketball league and Avenatti’s ‘source’ for the Nike allegations.
He has pleaded not guilty, but the lawyer could face up to 40 years in prison if convicted on all counts.
Lawyers will start surveying potential jurors from the Bronx and Manhattan (two democratic strongholds) as they begin what will be a difficult selection process given Avenatti’s notoriety. The trial is expected to last three weeks.
But even if he is acquitted on all counts (which is unlikely, seeing as the judge already dropped a few of the weaker counts), Avenatti must still face a separate case in California on a completely different set of charges.