Prosecutor says Avenatti ‘got tangled in his own web of lies’
Prosecutors on Wednesday said Michael Avenatti “got tangled in his own web of lies” during closing arguments in the lawyer’s fraud trial over allegations that he stole book proceeds from adult-film actress Stormy Daniels.
“She thought he was her advocate. But he betrayed her, and he told lies to try to cover it all up,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Sobelman told jurors, referring to Daniels, according to Reuters. “The defendant got tangled in his own web of lies. He got caught.”
Avenatti, meanwhile, claimed in his closing argument that there is “insufficient evidence” of fraud and that he was simply paid for his work, according to the wire service.
“People expect to be paid for their work, no matter what you do,” he said on Wednesday. “There should be nothing controversial about that basic concept.”
Avenatti, who once represented Daniels, is accused of stealing nearly $300,000 in proceeds from her 2018 autobiography, “Full Disclosure,” in which she discusses an alleged affair she had with former President Trump. Trump has denied the tryst.
Avenatti has denied the allegations and pleaded not guilty to wire fraud and identity theft.
Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, testified earlier in the trial that she was duped by Avenatti, according to Reuters, alleging that he told her advances had not yet been paid for her book when he had already received the money.
Avenatti, who has been representing himself in the trial following what he called a “breakdown” with his former defense team, cross-examined Daniels last week.
In a separate case, Avenatti was sentenced to 30 months in prison in July after he was found guilty of attempting to extort up to $25 million from Nike. He also faced charges last year for allegedly stealing close to $10 million in settlement funds from at least five clients, though a judge declared a mistrial in that case in August and a retrial has not yet taken place.
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