by Harry Wilmerding
A judge granted Michael Avenatti a mistrial on Tuesday in a case accusing him of stealing millions of dollars from his clients, according to multiple reports.
U.S. District Court District Judge James Selna, who was nominated by President George W. Bush, said prosecutors failed to provide financial evidence to Avenatti before the trial started, Law.com’s Meghann Cuniff reported live from the Santa Ana, California, courtroom.
I’m here at the federal courthouse in Santa Ana for what could be the 19th day of testimony in Michael Avenatti’s wire fraud trial. First, Judge Selna will consider a mistrial motion over newly released and also still missing financial data. Follow this thread for updates. ⚖️🧵⚖️ pic.twitter.com/S0cvpTG0nO
— Meghann Cuniff (@meghanncuniff) August 24, 2021
“I think the defendant was entitled to have that data,” Selna said, according to Cuniff. “I find that prejudice occurred here in a number of ways.”
Avenatti, who was representing himself, pleaded not guilty for fraud in May, when he was charged with stealing almost $10 million from his clients, according to the Wall Street Journal.
“This has been an incredibly difficult journey for my family, for my children for my friends and lastly for me. I am extremely thankful to Mr. Steward, Ms. Cummings Cefali and our entire team for standing by me and advocating tirelessly on my behalf,” Avenatti said after the decision was handed down, according to Cuniff.
When a mistrial occurs, the defendant is neither convicted nor acquitted due to either a procedural or misconduct error, according to the Cornell Law School. Selna set a new trial date for October 12th and a pretrial meeting for September 2nd, according to Cuniff.
Avenatti was sentenced in New York earlier this month to two and a half years in prison after being found guilty for attempting to extort Nike for more than $20 million. He is also scheduled to go to trial for embezzlement charges against porn star Stormy Daniels, whom Avenatti famously represented in a lawsuit against former President Donald Trump.
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