New York City–
Opening statements are most likely to happen Wednesday in the attempted extortion trial of a California lawyer whose representation of porn star Stormy Daniels in her legal fight with President Donald Trump catapulted him to fame.
Potential jurors were questioned Tuesday by a judge looking for objective individuals to hear the trial of Michael Avenatti. The questioning was not completed, although the jury selection process was nearing its end.
U.S. District Judge Paul G. Gardephe likewise disallowed plans by Avenatti’s lawyers to show exhibits to jurors and play a 2-minute bit of a tape-recorded conversation during opening statements. District attorneys objected on the grounds that the displays were not yet approved as evidence.
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Meanwhile, Avenatti’s legal representatives appealed a California judge’s recent choice to prohibit bail for the 48- year-old defendant. Avenatti’s legal representatives grumbled once again Tuesday that their customer’s imprisonment has made it challenging to get ready for trial.
Gardephe stated he’ll shorten the trial day by 2 hours to offer Avenatti time to consult with his legal representatives in the courtroom before he is returned to his cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center.
Responses to a quick questionnaire submitted by about 120 prospective jurors on Monday verified that most of them had heard of Avenatti or the charges versus him. A lot of said it would not affect their capability to be unbiased.
As Gardephe questioned one prospective juror Wednesday, she discussed that she had actually seen a satire of Avenatti on “Saturday Night Live.” Avenatti laughed.
Prosecutors said Avenatti tried to obtain between $15 million and $25 million from Nike last March after he threatened to reveal proof that the sportswear giant was making illegal payments to households of NBA-bound young athletes. Avenatti has denied the charges in this case and in two other criminal cases.
Later this year, Avenatti faces trial in Manhattan on charges that he cheated Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, out of the proceeds of a book deal. He also deals with trial in Los Angeles on charges that he defrauded customers and others out of countless dollars.
Gardephe stated last week that he’ll enable reference of Daniels and Trump at Avenatti’s trial over district attorneys’ objections because he “can’t pretend there was sort of a spotless conception here where Mr. Avenatti suddenly became this extremely public attorney amazingly.”
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