Attorney Michael Avenatti convicted for identity theft and wire fraud. A federal jury in New York declared him guilty of stealing from his former client Stormy Daniels. As per evidence, Avenatti wrongfully claimed $300,000 of Daniels’ $800,000 advance for her book, “Full Disclosure.” Apparently, the book contains details about an alleged affair between Daniels and Donald Trump prior to his president post.
Prosecutors claim Avenatti told Daniels’ literary agency to wire roughly $300,000 to a bank account he controlled. The money was part of two instalments of the advance agreement between Daniels and her literary agency. In addition, Avenatti ordered the fund transfer without Daniels’ approval and hence, the lawsuit.
Michael Avenatti filed a motion for mistrial, claiming bias among the jury. Furthermore, he also stated that any further instruction or action would be coercive.
“I’m very disappointed in the jury’s verdict. I look forward to a full adjudication of all of the issues on appeal,” declared Avenatti to CNN reporters. The court will declare Avenatti’s sentence on May 24. The verdict came after a tumultuous day in which the jury sought assistance from the judge. In addition, they claimed that one of the 12 was “acting on feeling” rather than proof.
“We have one juror who is refusing to look at evidence and is acting on a feeling. We need assistance on moving forward. She does not believe she needs to prove her side using evidence and refuses to show us how she has come to her conclusion,” Judge Jesse Furman quoted the message as saying.
The judge called the jury into the courtroom shortly before noon to explain their responsibilities. Subsequently, he reminded the jurors that they should not let their emotions bias their evidence analysis and consequently, the verdict.
Stephanie Clifford, known professionally as Daniels, thanked the jurors for not considering her previous career while deciding the case.
“First of all, I am ecstatic,” Daniels told NBC News. “A win is always great, and I’m aware I won’t ever get my money back and worried that if it had gone the other way it would set a very scary precedent for people in the adult film industry.”