Avenatti Cross-Examines Stormy Daniels at Trial

Michael Avenatti, already convicted and sentenced in the Nike fraud case, has been on bond due to COVID for a long time. His second fraud trial in California ended in a mistrial.

Now he's on trial in federal court in the Southern District of New York, charged with stealing money from his client, Stormy Daniels, and shortly before trial he announced he'd represent himself.

Yesterday he cross-examined Stormy Daniels. It was as bizarre as you'd expect. One topic was her ability to speak to the dead, which she claims she can do. He asked her about a house she lived in during 2019 in New Orleans: [More]...

Ms. Daniels testified she started experiencing poltergeist phenomena in the home and developed severe health problems that dissipated when she moved out.

Ms. Daniels....said that she could speak to the house and the dead. “How do you speak to the dead?” Mr. Avenatti asked.

“I don’t know. It just happens sometimes,” Ms. Daniels told jurors in a New York federal court.

Thursday's testimony was just as strange:

Thursday’s session took a turn when Mr. Avenatti began questioning Ms. Daniels, saying she claimed to have a photographic memory, X-ray vision and the ability to speak to a haunted doll named Susan. Ms. Daniels denied the X-ray vision but said she and Susan talked to one another.

If you are not familiar with the case, here's what prosecutors allege:

After helping Ms. Daniels secure a book contract for her memoir, “Full Disclosure,” Mr. Avenatti stole a significant portion of her advance, including by sending an unauthorized letter that had a fake signature, prosecutors said. He then asked her literary agent to send payments to his own bank account, according to prosecutors.

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  • Display: Sort:
    This is what can happen (none / 0) (#1)
    by Peter G on Sun Jan 30, 2022 at 02:44:13 PM EST
    if your lawyer is accused of a crime for defrauding you, and you have waived your attorney-client privilege in all the stuff you confided in him back when, by then suing him.

    Further: (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by oculus on Sun Jan 30, 2022 at 03:21:42 PM EST
    Didn't you tell the New York Times that watching me work was like watching the Sistine Chapel painted?" Avenatti asked.

    "That's what you told me to say," Daniels shot back.


    Ouch. That sounds like an exchange (none / 0) (#3)
    by Peter G on Sun Jan 30, 2022 at 07:35:25 PM EST
    from a textbook on narcissistic personality disorder. The person asking the question actually, subjectively expects the answer to be, "Yes, that's true, I did, because, honestly, your professional work is exactly that wonderful."

    ... back in 2018, I for one would never have guessed that the guy was such a massive 50-car pileup waiting to happen. It's not unlike the criminal financial fraud scandal that enveloped the Honolulu police chief and his wife. Greed and avarice do strange things to people, and none of it is good.

    Huh. Just looked it up. (none / 0) (#12)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Mon Feb 07, 2022 at 11:10:06 AM EST
    Did you know the Kealohas?

    Avenatti guilty... (none / 0) (#4)
    by desertswine on Fri Feb 04, 2022 at 02:06:46 PM EST
    A federal jury on Friday convicted Michael Avenatti of stealing from his former client, one-time adult film actor Stormy Daniels, who wrote an explosive 2018 book.

    He was found guilty on both counts of wire fraud and identity theft for wrongly pocketing about $300,000 of the $800,000 advance that was paid to Daniels for her book, "Full Disclosure," which included details about an affair she says she had with Donald Trump before he was president.  -  NBC

    Yikes (none / 0) (#5)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri Feb 04, 2022 at 03:36:59 PM EST
    now faces a maximum of 22 years

    The maximum is not what is important (none / 0) (#6)
    by Peter G on Fri Feb 04, 2022 at 10:01:16 PM EST
    But the identity theft charge does have a two-year minimum, and that has to run consecutively to whatever sentence the judge chooses for the fraud count(s). The sentencing guidelines range for the fraud depends mostly on the amount of loss (c. $300,000). On that basis, the suggested sentence is around 14 years, but the judge has a lot of discretion to vary from that.

    More important to moi, (none / 0) (#7)
    by oculus on Sat Feb 05, 2022 at 02:02:44 AM EST
    was defendant immediately taken into custody?

    No. (none / 0) (#8)
    by oculus on Sat Feb 05, 2022 at 02:07:08 AM EST
    Avenatti was allowed to remain free to surrender himself to federal authorities in California,...

    Not from what I read, but (none / 0) (#9)
    by Peter G on Sat Feb 05, 2022 at 09:54:23 AM EST
    revocation of bond upon return of a guilty verdict is presumptive under federal criminal law only in drug and violent crime cases. Otherwise optional, so presumably the prosecutor and/or judge are reluctant to add to the local federal jail population unnecessarily, given staffing shortages and persistent COVID risks.

    I should have mentioned that (none / 0) (#10)
    by Peter G on Sat Feb 05, 2022 at 10:06:59 AM EST
    the federal sentencing guidelines have a special rule for defendants already subject to another sentence (as is Avenatti), which strongly (and sensibly, imho) encourages the judge in the subsequent case to impose -- instead of the sentence ordinarily suggested by the Guidelines for that case -- only a "reasonable incremental sentence" that produces, in the aggregate, an approximation of the total punishment that the judge would have thought appropriate had the two cases been sentenced at the same time.