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For Avenatti In Nike Case A November 12 Trial Date While More Delay in Stormy Daniels Case

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon, Alamy, video

SDNY COURTHOUSE, June 18 – When Michael Avenatti phoned in to a status conference in the Nike extortion case against him on June 18, he said nothing other than confirming he was on the line and has no scheduling conflict for the trial now scheduled for November 12.

  His laywer Scott A. Srebnick told U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Paul G. Gardephe that the trial might have to be delayed because Avenatti's law firm's server has still not been reviewed. He said it is in the possession of the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Central District of California. 

  SDNY Assistant US Attorney Podolsky said that he has not seen the server, either. Don't these US Attorney's Office, both part of the US Justice Department, work together? Or do they mostly compete?

   Across Pearl Street at the courtroom of SDNY Judge Batts, which Avenatti was to have appeared at 10:30 am, a signed on the door said that the conference has been adjourned until July 23. (Srebnick says it is "to allow for new counsel in that case to enter his appearance and begin reviewing the discovery.") Instead Judge Batts was taking a surreal and halting guilty plea, with Inner City Press the only media in that large courtroom, of Defendant Augustin Zamora-Vega who could not remember where in the SDNY he had transported drugs.

  Avenatti if nothing else knows his way around the system. So beyond the motion schedule -- August 19 for Srebnick, September 19 for Podolsky and Richenthal with an October 3 reply -- whether this trial actually starts the day after Veteran's Day is anybody's guess. See @InnerCityPress and the news @SDNYLIVE.

   Back at his in person arraignment on the Nike extortion charges against him on May 28, Judge Gardephe
asked him about each of the charges, How do you plead?

  "One hundred percent not guilty," Avenatti answered four times, something he expanded slightly on in a question-less press gaggle in Foley Square just after the proceeding. Periscope video here. Alamy photos here.

Judge Gardephe began by disclosing that Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert B. Sobelman had been an intern of his while in law school. Judge Gardephe said this would have no effect. He asked AUSA Matthew Podolsky when the discovery material would begin to be produced.

  As soon as Avenatti's lawyer Scott Srebnick signs a protective order and provides a thumb drive, was the answer. It seems it will be a disk. Judge Gardephe set the next conference for June 18 at noon, an hour an a half after Avenatti and some lawyer are set to appear before SDNY Judge Deborah Batts in the Stormy Daniels case.

Earlier on May 28 before Judge Batts, Avenatti's first move was to have his Miami-based lawyer Srebnick ask to transfer the Daniels case to California.

  The U.S. Attorney for the SDNY's office opposed the request, saying it met none of the Supreme Court's factors for change in venue in the 1964 case Platt v. Minnesota Mining & Mfg. Co., 376 U.S. 240.  Attorney Srebnick's motion to make a motion was denied.

[Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Podolsky told Judge Batts he had recently beaten back a similar attempt to delay by bifurcated venue motions. For more, see Patreon, here.]

Judge Batts set June 18 for the next conference, by which time she said Avenatti should have retained counsel in the case.

  Earlier before SDNY Magistrate Judge James L. Cott, Avenatti was released on $300,000 bond. The U.S. Marshals who bought him in from the cell block entrance - he surrendered at 6:54 am in the morning - were not needed to take him on remand to the MCC.

  Avenatti still had a Federal Defenders lawyer, though only for purposes of presentment. The rest, Judge Cott said, will have to be dealt with later. Two other proceedings awaited Avenatti on May 28 in the SDNY: a 2 pm conference in the Stormy Daniels case before Judge , and a 3:30 pm proceeding in the indictment about alleged extortion of Nike before

   For the Stormy Danial ID theft case, Avenatti agreed to the requirement he notify Pre Trial Services before any domestic travel beyond the Southern and Eastern Districts in New York and the Central District of California.

  In this agreed package, U.S. Attorney for the SDNY Geoffrey L. Berman imposed more restrictions on Avenatti than last week on briber banker Stephen M. Calk.

Back on May 23 Calk of FDIC-regulated Federal Savings Bank was presented and arraigned for financial institution bribery for corruptly using his position with FSB to issue $16 million in high-risk loans to Paul Manafort in a bid to obtain a senior position with the Trump administration, namely Undersecretary of the Army.

  On May 23 Magistrate Judge Debra Freeman  accepted the government's proposal of $5 million bond with no co-signer (although that is usually required for moral suasion) and travel allowed throughout the United States (though more defendants are usually confined to the Soutern and Eastern District of NY and one other district). Money talks.

  Afterward in front of the SDNY courthouse Inner City Press asked Calk's lawyers Daniel Stein and Jeremy Margoles about Manafort saying he had misstated his financial situation to get the FSB loans. When did Calk know? They did not answer. Video here, Facebook video here.  Inner City Press' Alamy photos here.

  On May 23, still from the SDNY courthouse covering other cases including one involving the death penalty, Inner City Press reported finding no U.S. Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data for "Federal Savings Bank." But there's more.

The Federal Savings Bank's website, while providing a generic link to the FDIC, and a statement "Member FDIC," has no link for the U.S. Community Reinvestment Act. (Nor does it mention the indictment of Stephen Calk, simply listing his brother John Calk now as CEO and Vice Chairman. Who is the chairman?)

  It lists a loan production office on Avenue J in Brooklyn, and two deposit taking braches in Illinois. Did it see some exemption from the CRA and other consumer protection laws? From fair lending laws?

  Earlier on the morning of May 24 Inner City Press asked the FDIC, "Having covered yesterday's arraignment of the Chairman of The Federal Savings Bank in the SDNY courthouse, including the FDIC's involvement, I checked the bank's website and found "Member FDIC" but no mention of the Community Reinvestment Act."

  The FDIC's spokesperson David Barr, to his credit, responded quickly, writing to Inner City Press: "The Federal Savings Bank, Chicago, is regulated by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. They would be responsible for CRA and regulatory oversight. You should contact the OCC for more information."

  Now the OCC under Comptroller Joseph Otting has done everything possible to block the release of information, denying FOIA fees waivers and expedited treatment, refusing comments. But for now online the OCC has said this about The Federal Savings Bank: "While TFSB originated a substantial majority of its loans outside of its AAs; the bank’s business strategy is to operate as a mortgage banking entity with a nationwide presence and market place. Taking the bank’s business strategy into consideration the bank’s performance under this lending criterion is deemed reasonable." Reasonable? Bribery, too, seems to have been part of its business strategy, right under the nose of the OCC of Otting.

  Before 2 pm on May 24 Inner City Press in writing asked Otting's OCC: "This is a Press question for the OCC, from Inner City Press... Please confirm that The Federal Savings Bank is subject to HMDA, and/or if it is below a threshold, as I can find no data in its name on Also, please today provide as an OCC response to the Press this OCC-regulated bank's CRA public file and other information in the OCC's possession concerning the bank's CRA and fair lending performance.   Is it normal for a bank not to mention these things on its website, nor to provide any link to its actual regulator, the OCC, but only to the FDIC?     Please explain what steps the OCC is taking beyond Stephen Calk no longer being the CEO. What about his brother?"

  More than three hours later, even to the questions at the end, the OCC had only provided this:   "We are reviewing your questions, but we may not be able to respond by your deadline.     Regards,  Stephanie        Stephanie Collins  Manager, Media Relations  Public Affairs Operations  Office of the Comptroller of the Currency." This is the same OCC which has delayed FOR MONTHS providing basic information about a merger it has now already rubber stamped.

  On the morning of May 28 Inner City Press received from the OCC a statement that The Federal Savings Banks is subject to HMDA - how they are listed in the HMDA database remains a question - and this: "Question:  Is it normal for a bank not to mention these things [CRA and HMDA] on its website, nor to provide any link to its actual regulator, the OCC, but only to the FDIC?  [OCC answer:] This question is best directed to the bank."

  So wait: Otting's OCC leaves it entirely up to the banks it ostensibly regulates whether to mention on their website and presumably branches CRA, HMDA or even the OCC where consumers could complain? We'll have more on this.

  Stephen Calk was quoted, at least in 2012, opposing regulation: "As Mr. Stephen Calk writes in the September 7, 2012 edition of Origination News: “Basel III is designed to level the playing field among major banking institutions that operate internationally. Force-feeding these same rules to community banks in the United States is unnecessary and in fact counter-productive, particularly in the current economic environment.” Basel III is one thing. But no Community Reinvestment Act?

The Federal Savings Bank lists locations - and bankers - in       Arizona - Scottsdale California - Irvine Colorado - Fort Collins Delaware - Selbyville Florida - Sarasota Illinois - Chicago Illinois - Lake Forest Illinois - Oak Brook Illinois - Park Ridge Indiana - Bloomington Indiana - Indianapolis Kansas - Overland Park Louisiana - Laplace Maryland - Annapolis Maryland - Timonium CD Massachusetts - Lawrence New Jersey - Hackensack New Jersey - Lakewood New York - Brooklyn New York - Melville New York - New York New York - Queens North Carolina - Raleigh Ohio - Columbus Rhode Island - South Kingstown Tennessee - Nashville Virginia - Alexandria Virginia - Fredericksburg Virginia - Newport News Virginia - Richmond Virginia - Vienna Virginia - Warrenton...  We'll have more on this.

  In the indictment press release, FDIC OIG Special Agent-in-Charge Patricia Tarasca said, “Today’s indictment charges Stephen Calk with misusing his position as Chairman and CEO of a bank for his own personal gain.  The FDIC Office of Inspector General remains committed to investigating cases where bank officials cause multimillion-dollar losses to a financial institution and undermine its integrity.” (The FDIC stands to be the lead regulator of BB&T whose money laundering enforcement action was just terminated by the Federal Reserve to facilitate merger with Suntrust, click here for that and Inner City Press' FOIA request and appeal.)

                        Pearl, not 40 Foley, photo by Inner City Press

Earlier still in the May in the SDNY, Congressman Christopher Collins (R-NY) waived his right to be present for a May 3 hearing in the criminal insider trading case against him held past 5 pm in the SDNY courtroom of Judge Broderick. On May 10, Judge Broderick started on l'affaire Collins at 2 pm, after a case against BuzzFeed (Inner City Press coverage here). Early in the proceeding, before two shackled inmates were led in leading to a brief suspension of the white shoe SEC Congressman matter, Broderick made a joke about Donald Trump and evasive legal moves. I'm not going there, said one of the participants in Collins, who was an early endorser of Trump. Broderick said, "I shouldn't have either - but it is what it is."

  This case is  USA v. Collins, et al., 18-cr-00567 (VSB). More on Patreon, here.


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