Discover more from Matthew Russell Lee’s Newsletter
Avenatti Found Guilty In Stormy Daniels Case After Complaint About Emotional Juror
Afterward Inner City Press asked Avenatti questions in rain-swept Foley Square; the jury verdict form showed "not guilty" checked and then crossed out. #CourtCaseCase
SDNY COURTHOUSE, Feb 4 – Michael Avenatti's financial affidavit to get a publicly paid lawyer for his Stormy Daniels case, which Inner City Press formally sought to have unsealed for eleven months, were on July 27, 2021 ordered unsealed. Order.
Podcast here. Aug 13 podcast here.
On the weekend before trial there was a request to delay it, on COVID policy and Constitutional grounds. It was denied.
The trial started on the morning of January 24. Inner City Press live tweet here. It continued in the afternoon, with Stormy Daniels' literary agency Lucas Janklow being cross examined about being introduced to Michael Avenatti at a hotel bar, by Anderson Cooper. Inner City Press live tweeted, thread here; stream here, video here
On February 4 after a jury note complaining about an emotional juror who would not deliberate, Avenatti was found guilty on both counts. Inner City Press live tweeted it, thread here:
OK - US v. Avenatti, Day 10 - there has just been a jury note, that one juror is refusing to deliberate or look at evidence, other 11 jurors asking for help. Inner City Press will live tweet, thread below
Assistant US Attorney: We should ask the foreperson to identify the juror, and consider removing them. Judge Furman: I'm thinking of giving an instruction that deliberation requires consideration of the evidence. And if this problem continues, please ID the juror Inner City Press @innercitypress ·
AUSA: We should follow the Baker case. Judge Furman: In that case, there were three notes before they were asked to name-names. We don't know if it is a refusal to deliberate or a conscientious decision by her. Inner City Press @innercitypress ·
AUSA: Within an hour of them getting the 300 page transcript, we get this note. So it seems the juror is refusing to consider the transcript. So we think following Baker it would be appropriate to conduct an inquiry here. Inner City Press @innercitypress ·
Judge Furman: I'm not sure this is stronger than the request in Baker. Mr. Avenatti? Avenatti: I object to any further instruction to the jury. I request a mistrial, now. Avenatti: The idea that this juror has to justify her position to the other jurors is without merit. The jury is deadlocked. I am requested a mistrial. [Cites US v. Samet, 207 F. Supp. 2d 269, Judge McMahon]
Judge Furman: The application is denied. We are nowhere near a mistrial. The note is that the juror is acting on a feeling, that it's all emotion, as in Baker. But I won't yet ask them to identify the juror. A more incremental approach is appropriate Inner City Press @innercitypress ·
AUSA: Let's add, If a juror continues to refuse to deliberate, you may provide me with a further note. Avenatti: Let's just re-read them the initial instruction about deliberation. Judge Furman: Maybe the 11 want to acquit - I don't know. Avenatti: Re-read bias Inner City Press @innercitypress ·
Avenatti: May I have a moment to confer with my advisory counsel? Judge Furman: You may. And by the way, Samet is F.Supp 2d, not just F.Supp. And it may be Day 3, but it amounts to a day and half. And no deliberations during lunch due to social distancing. Inner City Press @innercitypress ·
Avenatti: I object to mentioning sympathy and emotion twice. That's undue emphasis. I propose the Court use the original charge. I'll read it -- Judge Furman: It's in the record, you don't need to read it. Inner City Press @innercitypress ·
Avenatti: The language of the draft answer is coercive and threatening. And I object, there's no need to bring attention to this instruction. Judge Furman: I propose to add that the defendant has no burden... Then I'll ask them to return to the jury room and deliberate.
AUSA: It doesn't seem the jury has any confusion about the burden of proof. Judge Furman: We're in sensitive territory Inner City Press @innercitypress ·
Jury entering! Judge Furman: We have received your note... Your verdict must be based on the evidence... I ask you to continue deliberating. If anyone refuses to deliberate, you are free to send us another note.
With jury gone, Avenatti says his interviews (on Foley Square, including the hotdog interviews, which Judge Furman says he has not seen) comply with the rules. He calls Stormy Daniels on CNN outrageous. Thread will continue. Inner City Press @innercitypress ·
OK - drum roll - Judge Furman has taken the bench again, and the jury is entering. Inner City Press @innercitypress ·
In US v. Avenatti: Count 1, wire fraud: Guilty. Count 2, aggravated ID theft: Guilty.
We're in 26th floor hallway outside courtroom. FD Dalack came out, in Michigan cap, and closed door. Inner City Press @innercitypress ·
Avenatti team came out with evidence cart, then went back in. Prosecutors left without comment. Inner City Press @innercitypress
Court staff peaks out into hallway, then locks door. "They can come out, but they can't go back in." There's no going back. Avenatti emerges, says, I am very disappointed in the verdict and look forward to a full adjudication on appeal."
Avenatti is set to surrender by February 7, 5 pm on the West Coast, and be sentenced on May 24 at 3:45 pm. We'll be there.
On February 3, Judge Furman read a modified Allen charge, below. Inner City Press live tweeted it, thread here
On February 1, Judge Jesse M. Furman held the charging conference from 1 to 4 pm, after which Inner City Press asked Avenatti about the possibility of remand to jail, video here. Inner City Press live tweeted, thread here.
More Foley Square Follies to follow [here]
On the morning of January 31, Avenatti did two final cross examinations then was asked about his own case. Inner City Press live tweeted, thread here.
In the afternoon of January 31, after the jury was sent home early, most of Avenatti's proposed witnesses were rejected. He said he does not intend to testify. And it appears closing arguments will be on February 2. Inner City Press live tweeted here
On January 30, the US wrote in on quantum meruit, and invited Avenatti to testify: "Although the defendant is wrong that he was entitled to take Ms. Daniels’s book payment under the law of quantum meruit, a mistaken belief about his legal rights could support a good faith defense. The Government is required to prove that the defendant had the requisite mens rea, including that he acted with a wrongful purpose. (See Letter Mot. on Willfulness, Dkt. No. 311). Good faith is a “complete defense to charges of wire fraud.” United States v. Dupre, 462 F.3d 131, 139 (2d Cir. 2006). The defendant therefore should be permitted to testify about his purported belief that quantum meruit permitted him to take Ms. Daniels’s money to support an argument that he acted in good faith. 3 The Court should carefully circumscribe the defendant’s testimony, however, and provide an appropriate instruction both at the time of the testimony and in the jury charge regarding the correct law, so as to avoid confusing and misleading the jury. First, while the defendant may describe the bases for his beliefs at a very high level, he should not be permitted to offer documentary evidence, delve deeply into legal theory that may confuse the jury and usurp the Court’s role." Full letter on DocumentCloud here.
Watch this site - and this Inner City Press song:
On January 25, the cross examination of Janklow continued, then an SDNY Special Agent and Avenatti law firm staffer. But in the middle, Federal Defenders said Avenatti may want to fire them and represent himself. Judge Furman said, Not so fast. Inner City Press live tweeted it, thread here
In the afternoon of January 25, Avenatti confirmed he wants to represent himself and Judge Furman granted it. He will cross examine Stormy Daniels, then. Inner City Press live tweeted it, thread here and below.
On the afternoon of January 26 Avenatti cross examined Sean Macias who hooked him up with Garagos, before those two double teamed Nike. Inner City Press live tweeted it, thread here.
On the morning of January 27, after the end of Macias and another SDNY witness, Stormy Daniels took the stand to begin direct examination. Inner City Press live tweeted it here.
On the afternoon, at the end, Avenatti began his cross examination. Inner City Press live tweeted the afternoon, here.
On January 29, Avenatti's cross examination continued, to two videos, thread here.
Avenatti-Watch a/k/a Foley Square Follies. here.
Judge Furman released his juror questions, asking each side to respond by January 19 at 10 am. The questions include: "Based on anything that you have read, seen, or heard about Mr. Avenatti, have you formed any opinions about Mr. Avenatti that might make it difficult for you to be a fair and impartial juror in this case? 10. Would you have any trouble following my instructions to put anything you may have read, seen, or heard about Mr. Avenatti out of your mind and decide this case based only on the evidence presented at trial? 11. Do you or does any member of your family or a close friend personally know or have past or present dealings with the alleged victim in this case, Ms. Clifford (also known as “Stormy Daniels”), or with any of her family members?...
"Do you know or have you heard of any of the following people or entities, which include the lawyers in this case, people who may testify at the trial, and other names that may be mentioned during the course of the trial? • Pamela Baez • Elizabeth Beier • Thomas Bolus • Clark Brewster • Christine Carlin • Michaela Catando (also known as Kayla Paige) • Dmitri Chitov • Dwayne Crawford • Jennifer Donovan • Anna Finkel • Mark Geragos • Jack Guiragosian • Holtzbrinck Publishers • Luke Janklow • Janklow & Nesbit Associates • Geoffrey Johnson • Global Baristas • Sean Macias • Macmillan Publishers • Susan McClaran • Benjamin Meiselas • Travis Miller • Mareli Miniutti • Erik Nathan • Denver Nicks • Kevin Carr O’Leary • David Padilla • Brandon Parraway • Pro Tech Security and Automation • Judy Regnier • Sally Richardson • Security and Automation LLC • St. Martin’s Press • Enrique Santos • Jessica Volchko • Juliet Vicari • Donald Vilfer 25. Are you familiar with anyone else present in the courtroom, including your fellow jurors, all Court personnel, and myself?"
On August 10 Avenatti's Federal Defenders filed a copy of the affidavit with multiple redactions. The form refers on nearly every question to an attachment, which is blacked out in absurd ways. It reads, for example, "I own stock in two closely held companies that may have value: (a) [REDACTED] located in [REDACTED] and (b) [REDACTED] located in [REDACTED]... I technically still have an interest in a private aircraft (model: HondaJet 420) that was seized by the IRS and is still in their possession. This interest is held through a single-purpose entity named [REDACTED]," and so forth.
Inner City Press published the redacted affidavit on its DocumentCloud here and asked, Will the Court be accepting this?
On August 11, the correct answer was: No. "MEMO ENDORSEMENT as to Michael Avenatti (1) on  LETTER MOTION re:  LETTER MOTION addressed to Judge Jesse M. Furman from Robert Baum, Tamara Giwa & Andrew Dalack dated August 10, 2021 re: Letter Motion In Response to Court's Order to File Financial Affidavit. ENDORSEMENT: The Court is unpersuaded that privacy interests justify redacting the names and locations of the corporate entities in Paragraphs 14, 15, and 17 of ECF No. 139-1."
After hours on August 12, some redactions were removed: Avenatti's owned a plane through Passport 420 LLC; an unnamed "non-family-member acquaintance" paid a NY-based attorney in the Nike case, whose name is redacted. Unredacted: Avenatti owns stock in Tyrian Systems (aka Seek Thermal) of Santa Barbara, CA and Centurion Holdings I, LLC of St. Louis Missouri."
Not so fast. Inner City Press research in the hours after the removal of the improper redactions found that Centurion Holdings I, LLC is based in Arnold, Missouri - and "received a PPP loan of $60,477 in May, 2020." That's the Paycheck Protection Program; the funds came through the Central Bank of St. Louis.
Bigger, the aka: "Seek Thermal, Inc of 6300 Hollister Ave in Goleta, California received a Coronavirus-related PPP loan from the SBA of $1,365,062.00 in April, 2020." We'll have more on this.
Watch this site.
On August 27, Inner City Press filed a formal request that documents in the case not be sealed, full filing on Patreon here.
On November 12, Inner City Press made a third filing with Judge Furman, on a decision to unseal issued earlier in the day by SDNY Judge J. Paul Oetken after Inner City Press filed to similarly unseal Lev Parnas' co-defendant David Correia's financial infor: "we again ask, why should lower income and less high profile defendants in the SDNY -- and now David Correia -- have their financial information so disclosed while Avenatti's information is sealed in its entirety? The documents at issue should not be sealed and should be made available."
On August 28, 2020 Judge Furman entered an order: "The Court received the attached communication from Matthew Lee of Inner City Press “seeking leave to be heard and for the unsealing of the CJA Form 23, affidavit, and all associated documents” relating to this litigation. To the extent that Mr. Lee (who is admitted to the bar of the Southern District of New York) seeks leave to be heard, his application is GRANTED. The Court reserves judgment on the question of whether Defendant’s CJA Form 23 and related documents should be unsealed. SO ORDERED. Dated: August 28, 2020 New York, New York JESSE M. FURMAN." Docket No. 85, on Inner City Press' DocumentCloud, here.
On July 27, 2021, Judge Furman four times citing Inner City Press ordered Avenatti's affidavits unsealed: "Avenatti filed a letter brief arguing that the Initial Financial Affidavit should remain under seal. ECF No. 80 (“Def.’s Mem.”). Thereafter, the Court received submissions from Inner City Press, a media outlet that intervened to seek disclosure of the Financial Affidavits, ECF Nos. 85, 90, 99... The Defendant initially argued that the Government lacked standing “to assert any right on behalf of the public to access Mr. Avenatti’s sworn financial statements.” Def.’s Mem. 7 n.1 (citing United States v. Hickey, 185 F.3d 1064 (9th Cir. 1999)). Subsequently, however, the Court granted leave to Inner City Press to be heard on the Defendant’s motion, ECF No. 85, which indisputably does have standing to assert such rights." Full order here, filings due August 10. Watch this site.
This case is US v. Avenatti, 19-cr-374 (Furman).
Your support means a lot. As little as $5 a month helps keep us going and grants you access to exclusive bonus material on our Patreon page. Click here to become a patron.