Judge Allows First Photos of Michael Avenatti Taken in Federal Prison, Despite Objections

A judge has allowed the first photos taken of Michael Avenatti to be published, despite objections from the disgraced lawyer.

Meghann Cuniff, a reporter for Law.com, has been following Avenatti’s case as he bounces from one courtroom to another.

However, Avenatti’s legal problems are about to get far worse.

Avenatti is facing bigger consequences than any of his other guilty verdicts in his next few fraud cases because he looted his client’s money.

As a lawyer, this is a violation the court will not take lightly.

He wasn’t shaking down a large corporation, he stole from his clients, one of whom is handicapped as a result of injuries suffered in the case Avenatti won.

Avenatti left his victims high and dry after keeping the money for himself.

This is the one case that could send him away for a long, long time.

And because of who he stole from, there is no way the judge will allow him to serve his sentences concurrently.

Reporter Cuniff wanted to take pictures of Avenatti in jail to share in her reporting but Avenatti objected.

Below is here blow by blow of what happened.

She said:

“Happening now, on a big video screen in Orange County Superior Court’s West Justice Center, live from prison, it’s federal inmate Michael Avenatti, ready for a hearing on his anticipated 5th Amendment pleas in 11-year fight with former co-counsel.

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“First up this morning was Judge Schwarm deciding my request to photograph the proceedings.

“Neither side objected, but Avenatti certainly did!

“He said I didn’t serve him with a copy of my request, so it should be denied on that grounds.

“Then Avenatti told the judge I have a history of misconduct related to my coverage of him.

“He said he might not oppose this if my media organization can send someone to court who can conduct themselves properly.

“Judge Schwarm asked Avenatti a couple of times if he had concerns about photos somehow influencing photo identification at trial or some similar issue. ‘I think in a vacuum I do have those types of concerns,’ Avenatti said.

“But, Avenatti said, ‘it’s difficult for me to answer the question and opine as to what some of those concerns might be. Ms. Cuniff and others will have access to the court transcript following this hearing,’ Avenatti told Judge Schwarm.

“Avenatti also there is ‘not widespread interest in this case.’ (Remember, this case is being tried in Westminster, California, not Manhattan, New York.)

“He said there’s a single request ‘from a freelance reporter’ (it’s actually through ALM) …

“… and Avenatti said I’ve made it my life’s work to follow him around the last three years.

“Judge Schwarm went back into chambers for about 10 minutes then emerged with his ruling.

“Before that, Avenatti said, ‘Ms. Cuniff wants to take a picture of me testifying here by video from a federal prison and then she wants to tweet it out and make a big deal out of it.’

“Avenatti said many of my Twitter followers ‘dislike me and take great pleasure’ in his problems.

“Judge Schwarm said there’s no requirement for court media requests to be served on the parties.

“Then he addressed Avenatti’s ‘objection to specifically Ms. Cuniff covering the case.’ ‘That’s not a factor that’s cited in California Rules of Court 1.0 e3,’ the judge explained.

“Avenatti told Schwarm he’d heard I’d been crowing on Twitter about being able to take photos in court.

“But the judge didn’t seem swayed.

“Specifically the identification of the media member covering the case is not relevant to the court’s decision,” the judge said.

From LAMag the day Avenatti surrendered to cops (Feb 9 2022) after serving time for his Nike conviction at home due to COVID:

He’s unlikely to see freedom again at least several years, with a 30-month federal sentence pending for his February 2020 convictions for extorting Nike and another prison sentence scheduled to be determined May 24 for defrauding Daniels of money owed to her through a book deal.

Avenatti arrived at the Orange County federal courthouse about 4:15 p.m. PST in a black Buick Enclave driven by a paralegal working his California case, which involves allegations that he stole $10 million from five clients and could carry many more years in prison if convicted.

A bifurcated part of the case includes tax and bankruptcy fraud charges.

All of it is under appeal to the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, and Avenatti’s lawyers filed their reply to prosecutors’ brief about an hour before he turned himself in.

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By David Hawkins

David Hawkins is a writer who specializes in political commentary and world affairs. He's been writing professionally since 2014.

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