A jury found disgraced lawyer Michael Avenatti guilty of fraud Friday.
Avenatti was on trial for allegedly swindling adult film star Stormy Daniels out of $300,000 in book sale revenue. Avenatti worked as Daniels’ lawyer when she accused former President Donald Trump of sexual misconduct, as well as during her subsequent book deal. He has now been found guilty of wire fraud and aggravated identity theft. He does not yet have a date for his sentencing hearing.
The jury handed down its guilty verdict in New York on Friday following a difficult three days of deliberation. At one point, the jury notified U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman that a single female juror was holding up the process. The rest of the jury stated that she was refusing to look at the evidence, according to Law and Crime.
“We have one juror who is refusing to look at evidence and is acting on a feeling,” the jury wrote in a note to U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman, according to Reuters. “She does not believe she needs to prove her side using evidence and refuses to show us how she has come to her conclusion … please help us move forward.”
Furman suggested that the rest of the jury remind the juror who is holding out to consider only the facts and not make a decision based on emotion. (RELATED: Goon On Goon Violence: Michael Avenatti And Michael Cohen Go At It)
The judge considers instructing them not to be swayed by sympathy or emotion.
Furman asks wryly whether it’s Avenatti’s position that a juror should let sympathy or emotion interfere with clear thinking.
— Adam Klasfeld (@KlasfeldReports) February 4, 2022
Avenatti sought to object when Furman instructed jurors to advise their colleague not to rely on emotion, resulting in a scathing reply from Furman, according to Law and Crime reporter Adam Klasfeld. Avenatti nevertheless called for the case to be declared a mistrial after learning of the note, a request Furman rejected.
Neither the jury note, nor Furman, have offered any indication of whether the lone juror is in favor of conviction or acquittal.
Avenatti, who is representing himself in the case, was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison in July 2021, for conducting an extortion scheme against Nike.
Avenatti enjoyed hours of coverage from CNN and other major networks during his campaign against Trump alongside Daniels. At one point, CNN host Brian Stelter of “Reliable Sources” suggested that Avenatti was a “contender” for the 2020 presidential race.