A judge dealt a serious blow to
attorney carnival barker Michael Avenatti’s attempt to limit his testimony if he testifies at his New York extortion trial, saying Monday that allegations of lies and deceit involving past clients are “highly relevant” although specific charges in other cases are not.
The ruling by U.S. District Judge Paul G. Gardephe came just before prosecutors were expected to conclude presenting evidence in the case in which the government alleges Avenatti tried to extort up to $25 million from Nike with threats to muddy its name with allegations of corruption.
Attorney Scott Srebnick said Friday that whether Avenatti testifies would depend in part on the judge’s willingness to exclude questions about allegations that Avenatti cheated faded porn star Stormy Daniels out of book proceeds or clients in Los Angeles out of millions of dollars.
Gardephe said he would exclude from allowable testimony any references to criminal charges pending against Avenatti in the case involving Daniels, which is set for trial in New York in April, or the fraud charges in Los Angeles federal court that are scheduled for a May trial.
But he said “prior incidences of lies and deceit is highly relevant” and prosecutors would be able to elicit a description of alleged fraudulent behavior against former clients. Therefore, Avenatti would be unable to limit his testimony to avoid addressing such matters