Judge rules mistrial in Michael Avenatti's California fraud case: reports

Michael Avenatti appears in court for sentencing in Nike extorsion case

Disgraced lawyer Michael Avenatti appeared in court Thursday to face sentencing for attempting extort millions from Nike. 

A federal court judge overseeing the California fraud case against disgraced attorney Michael Avenatti has declared a mistrial, according to reports. 

U.S. District Court Judge James Selna handed down the decision on Tuesday, ruling that the government failed to provide Avenatti with certain financial documents, Law.com’s Meghann Cuniff reported. 

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 "I think the defendant was entitled to have that data," Selna reportedly said. According to Cuniff, the jurist later added: "I find that prejudice occurred here in a number of ways."

Avenatti was representing himself at a federal criminal trial in Los Angeles, where he is charged with cheating several clients out of nearly $10 million. He argued that the documents were material to his defense that he did not bilk his clients out of millions of dollars in settlement proceeds, according to the Law.com report. 

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"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 reportedly said after the decision was handed down. 

According to the report, Selna set Oct. 12 as the retrial date. 

Michael Avenatti arrives for a scheduled sentencing at Manhattan federal court, Thursday, July 8, 2021, in New York. The California lawyer who publicly sparred with then-President Donald Trump before criminal fraud charges disrupted his rapid ascent (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Avenatti, 50, gained a high public profile as a lawyer who appeared regularly on cable television programs when he represented porn star Stormy Daniels in 2018 in lawsuits against then-President Donald Trump. He faces trial early next year in New York on charges that he cheated Daniels out of hundreds of thousands of dollars in proceeds for her book. 

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In July, he was sentenced in New York to 2 1/2 years in prison for trying to extort up to $25 million from Nike by threatening the apparel giant with bad publicity.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

This is a developing news story. Please check back for updates. 

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