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After Avenatti Finances Unsealed By Inner City Press Nike Surrender Date Pushed To Feb 28

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon Song Radio
BBC - Decrypt - LightRead - Order Affidavit

SDNY COURTHOUSE, Nov 3 – Michael Avenatti's financial affidavit to get a publicly paid lawyer, which Inner City Press has formally sought to have unsealed for eleven months, were on July 27 been ordered unsealed. Order.
Podcast here. Aug 13 podcast here.

On August 27 Avenatti's Federal Defenders wrote to Judge Furman to arguing that, now that Avenatti's iPad has been accessed by DOJ, they do not want the DOJ taint-team involved. They asked for Judge Furman himself to get involved in the review.

On September 9, Avenatti's motions have been denied. Full order here.

On October 12, it emerged that the January 10 Stormy Daniels trial date is in doubt: "ORDER as to Michael Avenatti: The Court having conferred with the Jury Department, it is unclear whether it would be feasible to hold trial in this case on or about January 10, 2022, as currently planned, in the event that (as the Court anticipates will be the case) the District is still operating with strict COVID-19 protocols."

On November 2, with the addition of a questionnaire, the date moved to February 7: "SCHEDULING ORDER as to Michael Avenatti: Upon reflection, the Court is persuaded that the use of a jury questionnaire in this case is indeed appropriate and will serve to make the selection of a fair and impartial jury more efficient. As the Court discussed with the parties at the conference held on October 14, 2021, due to the COVID-19 trial protocols that are in effect, that requires a brief adjournment of the trial date. This Order sets forth the new trial date and various pretrial deadlines. Unless and until the Court orders otherwise, trial in this case shall begin (in a courtroom to be determined when trial gets closer) on Monday, February 7, 2022, at 9:30 a.m."

On November 3 in the Nike case, Avenatti's surrender date was pushed back to February 28: "MEMO ENDORSEMENT as to Michael Avenatti re: [353] Modification of Surrender Date... ENDORSEMENT: The application is granted. Defendant Michael Avenatti's surrender date is adjourned from December 15, 2021 to February 28, 2022. SO ORDERED. (Signed by Judge Paul G. Gardephe on 11/3/21)."

On October 14 Judge Furman held a proceeding in the Stormy Daniels case and Inner City Press live tweeted it here and podcast here

On October 29 the US Attorney's Office filed a letter asking to move up Avenatti's surrender date for his Nike case sentence from December 15 to November 12, since his California re-trial has been postponed without date certain (sine die) due to his interlocutory appeal.

  Avenatti's lawyers have fired back that if anything, the surrender should be pushed back to February 28. What will Judge Gardephe do?

From October 14:  Judge Furman said he is disinclined to require a jury questionnaire, it would result in multi-day or -week jury selection. He notes Judge Oetken picked jury in one day [in Parnas] and that Avenatti's case is no longer that high profile.

 Assistant US Attorney: We're ready to go forward. Federal Defender Dalack (recently had US v. Hossain Taliban support trial) - We'd like to adjourn. This case is different from Parnas. Avenatti still garners media attention (?)

 Federal Defender: Jurors will arrive with strong feelings about Mr. Avenatti. We'd prefer a questionnaire. Judge Furman: Do you think it's legally required?

FD: It's not required per se... But we agreed. Judge Furman: That was in 2020, this will be 2 years later

 Federal Defender: When Mr. Avenatti's financial affidavit was unseal, that generated significant media attention.  (NYLJ and National Law Journal covered Inner City Press unsealing win)

Judge Furman: The Judge Oetkan case may implicant Mr. Giuliani, Mr. Trump... Judge Furman: The deadline for requesting Q1 trial dates is November 15. So if you're going to file something...

FD Dalack: What about a March 2022 trial? Judge Furman: I have a backlog of trials. But file a letter by next Friday. Whether we proceed with Jan 10

Judge Furman: Or you could propose a March 2022 trial, perhaps in front of another judge if I have a time conflict. [Would Avenatti prefer to spin the wheel again, seeking a judge who wouldn't correctly unseal judicial documents and still viewed him a high profile?]

Note: It's not just snark - whether a jury questionnaire will be used turns on how "high profile" etc the defendant is viewed. Lev Parnas, for example, did NOT get a questionnaire, and jury was picked in one day. Adjourned

[Meanwhile, Judge Furman has written to the Advisory Committee on Criminal Rules to urge or suggest that CJA Form 23s "may be judicial documents subject to a right of public access" under common law, the First Amendment or both. Hear, hear.]

On August 26, after Avenatti's mistrial in California due to DOJ missteps as in US v. Nejad (and now US v. Virgil Griffith), this consent motion: "CONSENT LETTER MOTION addressed to Judge Paul G. Gardephe from Scott Srebnick and Danya Perry dated August 26, 2021 re: [339] Judgment,,, re: Extend Surrender Date to December 15, 2021 . Document filed by Michael Avenatti. (Srebnick, Scott)."

And on August 27, it was granted: "MEMO ENDORSEMENT [350] CONSENT LETTER MOTION addressed to Judge Paul G. Gardephe from Scott Srebnick and Danya Perry dated August 26, 2021 re: [339] Judgment re: Extend Surrender Date to December 15, 2021... ENDORSEMENT...The application is granted. (Signed by Judge Paul G. Gardephe on 8/27/21) (jw)." Watch this site.

On August 10 Avenatti's Federal Defenders filed a copy of the affidavit with multiple redactions. The form refers on nearly every question to an attachment, which is blacked out in absurd ways. It reads, for example, "I own stock in two closely held companies that may have value: (a) [REDACTED] located in [REDACTED] and (b) [REDACTED] located in [REDACTED]... I technically still have an interest in a private aircraft (model: HondaJet 420) that was seized by the IRS and is still in their possession. This interest is held through a single-purpose entity named [REDACTED]," and so forth.

Inner City Press  published the redacted affidavit on its DocumentCloud here and asked, Will the Court be accepting this?

On August 11, the correct answer was: No. "MEMO ENDORSEMENT as to Michael Avenatti (1) on [139] LETTER MOTION re: [139] LETTER MOTION addressed to Judge Jesse M. Furman from Robert Baum, Tamara Giwa & Andrew Dalack dated August 10, 2021 re: Letter Motion In Response to Court's Order to File Financial Affidavit. ENDORSEMENT: The Court is unpersuaded that privacy interests justify redacting the names and locations of the corporate entities in Paragraphs 14, 15, and 17 of ECF No. 139-1."

  After hours on August 12, some redactions were removed: Avenatti's owned a plane through Passport 420 LLC; an unnamed "non-family-member acquaintance" paid a NY-based attorney in the Nike case, whose name is redacted. Unredacted: Avenatti owns stock in Tyrian Systems (aka Seek Thermal) of Santa Barbara, CA and Centurion Holdings I, LLC of St. Louis Missouri."

 Not to fast. Inner City Press research in the hours after the removal of the improper redactions found that Centurion Holdings I, LLC is based in Arnold, Missouri - and "received a PPP loan of $60,477 in May, 2020." That's the Paycheck Protection Program; the funds came through the Central Bank of St. Louis.

Bigger, the aka: "Seek Thermal, Inc of  6300 Hollister Ave in Goleta, California received a Coronavirus-related PPP loan from the SBA of $1,365,062.00 in April, 2020." We'll have more on this.

 Watch this site.

  When after three days of jury selection the trial of Michael Avenatti for extorting Nike began on January 29, 2020 Assistant US Attorney Robert Sobelman told the selected jurors that Avenatti was supposed to look out for the interests of his client, but he did not - he had a weapon, social media.  More on Patreon here.

 On August 7, 2020 in the Stormy Daniels case, Avenatti had motions heard by U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Jesse M. Furman. Inner City Press live tweeted it, here.

 On August 27, Inner City Press filed a formal request that documents in the case not be sealed, full filing on Patreon here.

  On November 12, Inner City Press made a third filing with Judge Furman, on a decision to unseal issued earlier in the day by SDNY Judge J. Paul Oetken after Inner City Press filed to similarly unseal Lev Parnas' co-defendant David Correia's financial infor: "we again ask, why should lower income and less high profile defendants in the SDNY -- and now David Correia -- have their financial information so disclosed while Avenatti's information is sealed in its entirety? The documents at issue should not be sealed and should be made available."

  On August 28, 2020 Judge Furman entered an order: "The Court received the attached communication from Matthew Lee of Inner City Press “seeking leave to be heard and for the unsealing of the CJA Form 23, affidavit, and all associated documents” relating to this litigation. To the extent that Mr. Lee (who is admitted to the bar of the Southern District of New York) seeks leave to be heard, his application is GRANTED. The Court reserves judgment on the question of whether Defendant’s CJA Form 23 and related documents should be unsealed. SO ORDERED. Dated: August 28, 2020 New York, New York JESSE M. FURMAN." Docket No. 85, on Inner City Press' DocumentCloud, here.

  Now on July 27, 2021, Judge Furman four times citing Inner City Press has ordered Avenatti's affidavits unsealed: "Avenatti filed a letter brief arguing that the Initial Financial Affidavit should remain under seal. ECF No. 80 (“Def.’s Mem.”). Thereafter, the Court received submissions from Inner City Press, a media outlet that intervened to seek disclosure of the Financial Affidavits, ECF Nos. 85, 90, 99... The Defendant initially argued that the Government lacked standing “to assert any right on behalf of the public to access Mr. Avenatti’s sworn financial statements.” Def.’s Mem. 7 n.1 (citing United States v. Hickey, 185 F.3d 1064 (9th Cir. 1999)). Subsequently, however, the Court granted leave to Inner City Press to be heard on the Defendant’s motion, ECF No. 85, which indisputably does have standing to assert such rights." Full order here, filings due August 10. Watch this site.

This case is US v. Avenatti, 19-cr-374 (Furman).


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