Stormy Daniels, the pornstar who helped propel herself and Michael Avenatti to fame with lawsuits against former President Donald Trump, will have a starring role in court on Monday when prosecutors try to prove that the California lawyer cheated $300,000 in book proceeds.
Her testimony in Manhattan Federal Court will be pivotal for prosecutors trying to prove Avenatti engaged in wire fraud and aggravated identity theft in order to keep from giving his client money he had received from her publisher. Opening statements are set for Monday. Daniels is not expected to testify until Tuesday, at the earliest.
Avenatti, 50, has pleaded not guilty to the charges in what will be his third criminal trial in two years.
Avenatti said in a weekend statement issued by a publicist that he was completely innocent of these charges. The case should have never been filed, and the government is spending millions of dollars to prosecute me. They continue to allow Trump and his co-conspirators to walk free and suffer no consequences for their criminal conduct. He was convicted in early 2020 of trying to extort up to $25 million from Nike by threatening to tarnish the sportswear giant's reputation unless it met his demands. He is currently serving a 2 year prison sentence. A mistrial last year resulted in a mistrial in California on charges that he cheated clients there. He is in court and waiting for a retrial.