SANTA ANA (CNS) - A federal judge on Thursday set a Nov. 2 retrial date for attorney Michael Avenatti, who is accused of stealing settlement money from several clients.
U.S. District Judge James V. Selna, who declared a mistrial Tuesday on technical grounds related to a failure to turn over bookkeeping evidence, told Avenatti and federal prosecutors he has moved to begin summoning jurors for a retrial.
This time Selna expects a pool of 100 potential jurors, instead of the 150 in the first trial, with jury selection to begin Oct. 28 with the questioning of possible panelists to see how long they could be available to serve.
Meanwhile, Avenatti, who was convicted of an attempted shakedown of shoe and apparel manufacturer Nike in New York, should remain out of custody under house arrest with a friend until Dec. 15, Selna said.
However, Avenatti said he is waiting for the judge in New York who sentenced him to 30 months in prison to also sign off on the custody status. If not, then Avenatti must begin serving his prison sentence in New York on Sept. 15.
Avenatti's stand-by counsel, Dean Steward, is scheduled to begin a trial before Selna on Sept. 26, so the Oct. 12 trial date Selna initially set after he declared a mistrial had to be pushed back to Nov. 2.
Avenatti is also scheduled to go on trial in January in a case involving allegations of stealing money from his client, adult film actress Stormy Daniels.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Brett Sagel objected to delaying Avenatti's trial.
“The victims also have speedy trial rights,'' Sagel said. “There's really no further reason for further continuances.''
Avenatti sought to begin a process to try to settle the case before another trial, but Sagel noted that it would require an agreement by both sides to enter into a mediation and the government refuses.
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