Avenatti Loses Stormy Daniels Case After Representing Self

He's facing jail time but plans to appeal
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 4, 2022 2:45 PM CST
Avenatti Convicted of Theft in Stormy Daniels Case
Michael Avenatti, right, shown with adult film actress Stormy Daniels in a 2018 photo.   (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)

Michael Avenatti was convicted Friday of charges he cheated the porn actor Stormy Daniels out of nearly $300,000 she was supposed to get for writing a book about an alleged tryst with former President Trump. Avenatti, who acted as his own lawyer, stared straight ahead as the verdict was read, per the AP. It was another crushing defeat for the California lawyer, who has faced legal problems after briefly rising to fame as one of Trump’s leading antagonists on cable news. “I’m very disappointed in the jury’s verdict,” Avenatti told reporters outside the federal courtroom in New York. “I’m looking forward to a full adjudication of all the issues on appeal.”

US District Judge Jesse M. Furman ordered Avenatti to surrender Monday to US marshals in California. Avenatti has delayed serving a 2 1/2-year prison sentence for his 2020 conviction in an extortion case while waiting for the book proceeds trial and the retrial of a fraud case in a California federal court. Sentencing was set for May 24. Prosecutors said it was likely that Daniels will speak at sentencing. The verdict came hours after the jury foreperson sent a note to the judge saying one juror was refusing to look at evidence and was deciding the case based on her feelings and emotions.

“She does not believe she needs to prove her side using evidence and refuses to show us how she has come to her conclusion,” the note said. "Not going on any evidence, all emotions and does not understand this job of a jury.” But the verdict was unanimous.
It capped an unusual trial in which Avenatti dumped his lawyers and decided to represent himself on the trial's second day, setting up a face-to-face showdown with Daniels, his former client, who appeared in a new role as star witness. Avenatti said after the verdict that he did not regret representing himself. (More Stormy Daniels stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.