‘There has been a breakdown in the relationship between me and my counsel that speaks to the heart of my ability to mount a defense’
Mr Avenatti, who represented Ms Daniels when she sued former President Donald Trump, dismissed his public defenders in court on Tuesday.
He will now represent himself against the charges that he pocketed cash meant for Ms Daniels.
Mr Avenatti is now set to cross-examine Ms Daniels when she testifies on Wednesday, New York Daily News berig.
The once-prominent Kalifornië attorney tried to interrupt his trial on Tuesday to ask to represent himself, but the judge refused to delay the proceeding.
His lawyers made the request to District Judge Jesse Furman during a break. Avenatti, 50, has strongly maintained his innocence on the claims that he swiped almost $300,000 van die $800,000 advance paid to Ms Daniels for her 2018 boek Full Disclosure.
When Avenatti stood to try to speak about representing himself, Judge Furman cut him off.
“Mr Avenatti, please have a seat,” Judge Furman directed. “I’m not taking it up right now.”
After defence lawyers asked for a brief adjournment to address Avenatti’s request, the judge said: “I’m not going to waste the jury’s time. It’s not happening now.”
In early 2020, Avenatti was convicted of trying to extort up to $25m from sportswear giant Nike by threatening to tarnish the company’s reputation if it didn’t meet his demands. He was sentenced to two and a half years in prison. At that trial, he did not testify and was represented by lawyers.
Laas jaar, he represented himself in a California federal court against criminal charges that he cheated clients of millions of dollars, and the proceedings ended in a mistrial.
Avenatti became well known nationally in 2018 as he represented Ms Daniels in the lawsuits against Mr Trump. Ms Daniels had reportedly received $130,000 shortly before the 2016 presidential election to remain silent about her claims that she’d had a sexual liaison with Mr Trump a decade earlier. Mr Trump has denied it happened.
In opening statements on Monday, Avenatti attorney Andrew Dalack said his client had an agreement with Ms Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, to share proceeds of any book deal.
Mr Dalack said Avenatti had loaned Ms Daniels hundreds of thousands of dollars while he represented her.
A prosecution witness, Judy Regnier, testified on Tuesday that she did not believe Avenatti had sent any of his law firm’s money to Ms Daniels between July 2018 en Februarie 2019.
“I was checking bank accounts to see if there were enough funds to make it through the week, or the day," sy het gese.
Prosecutors will attempt to convict Avenatti of wire fraud and aggravated identity theft in his third criminal trial in two years.
“There has been a breakdown in the relationship between me and my counsel that speaks to the heart of my ability to mount a defense,” Avenatti said on Tuesday, Volgens New York Daily News. “I am completely competent to proceed in this case as my own counsel.”
Judge Fruman advised Avenatti, who has been disbarred, to drop the matter and stick with his attorneys.
“As far as I can tell, [hulle] have ably and zealously represented you throughout these proceedings,” het die regter gesê. “They are exceptionally good lawyers.”
The relationship between Ms Daniels and Avenatti seemed to be solid in the spring of 2018 when they appeared outside a Manhattan court hearing concerning raids at the home and office of Michael Cohen, Mr Trump’s former personal lawyer and fixer.
Cohen had been part of the scheme to pay off Ms Daniels ahead 2016 presidential election to stop her from revealing the affair she said she had had with Mr Trump.
Cohen pleaded guilty, serving one year in prison and two years of home confinement. Ms Daniels sued Mr Trump to attempt to regain the right to speak publically about what claims was a short-lived affair around ten years previously. While Mr Trump has denied that the sexual encounter took place, the lawsuits led to a judge in Die Engele ordering him to pay Ms Daniels $44,100 in legal costs.
Coming out of court on Monday, Cohen said Avenatti had “shown himself to be the dirtbag everybody expected him to be” and that he faces “big troubles”.
Avenatti told reporters outside of court on Monday that Cohen was “trying to become Michael Avenatti,” adding that he’s a “complete joke”. He added that the former Trump ally “wants to be the anti-Trump,” going on to call Cohen a “misogynist,” an “absolute disgrace” and that he’s “dumber than a box of rocks”.
The Associated Press contributed to this report