Jury selection underway in Michael Avenatti’s Nike trial


NEW YORK (AP) — Jury selection was underway Tuesday in the attempted extortion trial of a California attorney whose representation of porn star Stormy Daniels in her legal fight with President Donald Trump catapulted him to fame.
Prospective jurors were being questioned by a judge seeking unbiased people to hear the trial of Michael Avenatti.
The questioning by U.S. District Judge Paul G. Gardephe began late in the morning, and it was unclear whether a jury would be seated in time to begin opening statements before Wednesday.
Answers to a brief questionnaire filled out by about 120 prospective jurors on Monday confirmed that most of them had heard of Avenatti, 48, or the charges against him. Most said it would not affect their ability to be impartial.
Prosecutors say he tried to extort between $15 million and $25 million from Nike last March after he threatened to reveal proof that the sportswear giant was making illicit payments to families of NBA-bound young athletes. Avenatti has denied the charges in this case and in two other criminal cases.
Later this year, faces trial in Manhattan on charges that he cheated Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, out of the proceeds of a book deal. He also faces trial in Los Angeles on charges that he defrauded clients and others out of millions of dollars.
Gardephe said last week that he’ll allow mention of Daniels and Trump at Avenatti’s trial over prosecutors’ objections because he “can’t pretend there was sort of an immaculate conception here where Mr. Avenatti suddenly became this incredibly public lawyer magically.”