Avenatti says he won’t testify at fraud trial
Michael Avenatti, who is representing himself in his own fraud trial over allegations that he stole book proceeds from adult-film actress Stormy Daniels, said on Tuesday he will not be testifying, The Associated Press reported.
Avenatti, who once represented Daniels, has been accused of stealing several hundred thousand dollars that she was supposed to receive from writing her book. The book discusses an alleged affair she had with former President Trump, though the president has denied the tryst.
Avenatti has denied any wrongdoing.
As reasoning for his decision not to testify in his own trial, Avenatti said prosecutors had not proven their allegations against him, according to the AP. The attorney reportedly made his remarks after saying that he did not have any witnesses who were available to start testifying in court.
The development comes as Avenatti has been representing himself in his own trial after he told a judge that he had a “breakdown” with his defense team from the Federal Defenders of New York and requested that he defend himself instead.
That arrangement led to an unusual circumstance last week in which Avenatti cross-examined Daniels when she was on the witness stand.
Closing arguments are set to take place on Wednesday, according to the AP.
Last year, Avenatti also represented himself, with the help of an advisory council, in a separate embezzlement case in which he was accused of stealing close to $10 million in settlement funds from at least five clients, though a judge declared a mistrial in August. A retrial has not yet taken place.