Judge rejects Avenatti request to move case to California
California attorney Michael Avenatti will face charges that he ripped off porn star Stormy Daniels of hundreds of thousands of dollars in book proceeds in New York rather than Los Angeles, a judge ruled Tuesday.
U.S. District Judge Deborah Batts said virtually all the factors that decide where a trial should be held favored the New York venue despite Avenatti’s claims that a California trial made more sense for the wire fraud and aggravated identity theft charges he faces in the case.
Batts noted that Avenatti already faces a separate criminal case in Manhattan federal court and he does not claim that he cannot afford it financially.
Avenatti was indicted in May on charges that he cheated Daniels of $300,000 that was owed to her through a Manhattan-based book deal.
He also is charged with trying to extort up to $25 million from shoe giant Nike by threatening to reveal allegations that Nike facilitated payments to the families of college basketball players to steer NBA-bound talent toward Nike-sponsored schools.
In California, Avenatti faces various charges, including allegations that he embezzled millions of dollars from clients, failed to pay taxes and concealed assets from bankruptcy court.
He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.
His attorney, Dean Steward, said in an email: “We are disappointed, but look forward to litigating the case in NYC.”