When Michael Avenatti was first charged with various financial crimes, he was very adamant about his own innocence. Of course, like all defendants, he was presumed innocent, but Avenatti was eager to suggest that in his case the people who believed in his innocence would be shown to be right once all the facts came out:
For 20 years, I have represented Davids against Goliaths and have relied on due process and our justice system. Along the way, I have made many powerful enemies. I am entitled to a TOTAL presumption of innocence and I trust that justice will be served once ALL the facts are known.
– Michael Avenatti (@MichaelAvenatti) Apr 11, 2019
I hope that a jury hears all the evidence and makes a judgment on my conduct. At no time was money misappropriated or mishandled. I will be fully exonerated once the relevant emails, contracts, text messages and documents are submitted.
– Michael Avenatti (@MichaelAvenatti) May 22, 2019
I have confidence in the system to which I have dedicated almost 20 years of my professional life. I am sure that a jury will exonerate me completely once all pertinent evidence and documents are presented. And I look forward to a full investigation into the motivations behind the charges.
– Michael Avenatti (@MichaelAvenatti) May 28, 2019
Whatever happens, Avenatti always maintained that he was about to be “exonerated by the facts.”
The CA State Bar action is nothing more than a “heap” and was expected entirely in light of the pending charges. I offered to cooperate with the Bar Association and instead they decided to issue a press release as a stunt. I hope to be fully exonerated on the facts.
– Michael Avenatti (@MichaelAvenatti) June 4, 2019
The Nike case was more of the same.
I hope a New York jury hears ALL relevant Nike-related evidence. I have full confidence in the truth and I trust that I will be exonerated at the end of the trial.
– Michael Avenatti (@MichaelAvenatti) June 18, 2019
Once the actual evidence is presented at Nike’s trial, I will be fully exonerated because I did absolutely nothing wrong.
– Michael Avenatti (@MichaelAvenatti) January 6, 2020
When the actual evidence is heard at trial rather than the unfounded allegations in the prosecution, I will be completely acquitted because I did nothing wrong. I’m innocent.
– Michael Avenatti (@MichaelAvenatti) January 9, 2020
And as we all know by now, Avenatti was not fully authorized. A little over a month later I was convicted of all charges by a jury. When he was sentenced to two and a half years in prison earlier this month, Avenatti seemed to finally admit that he was not innocent. “I lost my way. I betrayed my own values, my friends, my family and myself. I betrayed my profession. I got carried away by the things that don’t matter in life,” he said. The judge cited his show of remorse as a reason for give it a relatively light sentence.
Now fast forward two weeks and Avenatti is back in court, this time in California, where he is representing himself on charges of stealing money from a number of clients. The Daily Beast reports that old Avenatti has returned and is still innocent as a dove.
In his opening statement Wednesday, Avenatti insisted that he did his best for the handful of clients who will soon testify against him in Santa Ana.
“A few days ago, Mr. Sagel and Mr. [Alexander] Wyman came to you and they told you they represented the United States of America, ”Avenatti began. “Ladies and gentlemen, for more than 20 years, I too have represented the United States of America, and I have made it citizen by citizen.
“I did not commit any crime and I never intended to steal or defraud any customer at all. Not last week. Not last month. Not last year. Never. I have pleaded not guilty for a reason: because I am not guilty. “Avenatti thundered …
The attorney then charged federal prosecutors with confusing math when it came to charges of diversion of funds from clients: “The evidence will show that despite working on this case for more than two years, despite all resources and federal government agents still do not have the correct numbers. It doesn’t add up. “
“We will show that it is smoke and mirrors,” Avenatti said.
Clearly not smoke and mirrors. Prosecutors have text messages in which Avenatti tells his clients that the settlement money has not come even though it has. They have bank records showing that you transfer settlement money to your own accounts. After losing at Nike’s trial, do you really think you’re going to win a case where one of your victims is a paraplegic?
Perhaps if he is found guilty of all charges in this trial, he will once again burst into tears during sentencing. And then you can rinse it off and repeat the whole process two more times, once for the second half of this test later this year and one more time for the Stormy Daniels test next year. At some point, Avenatti may finally admit that he was never innocent of any of that, but that day has yet to come.