At fraud trial, Avenatti questions Stormy Daniels about ghosts | State and Region

By TOM HAYS and LARRY NEUMEISTER – Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — Michael Avenatti asked during his fraud trial on Friday to portray his former client Stormy Daniels as someone who might be delusional as he questioned the porn actor about his belief that his house was once haunted. by ghosts.

Avenatti, who is acting as his own attorney, was able to cross-examine Daniels for a second day on allegations that he stole $300,000 the artist was supposed to get from a publisher for writing a tell-all book about an alleged sexual date with the former president. Donald Trump.

He asked Daniels about the stories she told on her “Spooky Babes” show website about living in a New Orleans house in 2019 that she said was haunted. Daniels said she had experienced inexplicable and frightening encounters, including physical attacks from unseen assailants, a haunted doll named “Susan” who called her “Mom” and the ability to communicate with dead people.

“Sometimes I record them,” she said of conversations with the dead.

She was asked if she had ever said, “I should shut up because walking around saying I see dead people and hear voices can have a pretty terrible effect on these open court cases.”

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“Yeah, I said that,” Daniels replied.

Avenatti asked if the encounters in the house she had since left included “shadow figures and inexplicable sounds and voices lurking around your house.”

Avenatti asked if that made his life impossible.

And he asked if his partner at the time questioned his sanity.

“Yeah, it’s all documented,” she said.

Avenatti asked Daniels about a story she once told in which she said she saw an image of a woman in her home between April 2019 and November 2019 who was sobbing over a dead child and cutting her wrists, and that she then looked down and saw her own arm covered in blood.

He asked her if it had really happened.

“Yes,” Daniels answered.

“And you don’t remember opening the drawer, taking out the knife, or cutting yourself?” asked Avenatti.

“And back when you started thinking you were crazy?” He asked.

“Okay,” she replied.

He also got from Daniels that she was at some point diagnosed with a tumor in her head. She said the diagnosis was made by “Lisa”, who practices holistic medicine as an energy worker and yoga instructor. The tumour, she added – which turned out to be a blockage that caused her memory loss and headaches – has since disappeared.

She admitted to saying publicly as recently as last April that she had had a tumour.

“That’s what they thought. Fortunately, I was wrong,” she added.

When Avenatti asked her if she was advertising her oracle card reading abilities on the internet so people would visit her from “all over the country” to have their cards read and sometimes help them communicate with deceased relatives, she said. corrected by saying: “All over the world, yes.”

For two days on Daniels’ witness stand that ended Friday afternoon, jurors heard a lot of profanity as written submissions were read aloud.

Daniels had at times appeared giddy Thursday when a prosecutor asked him about rude texts to Avenatti harassing him about book deal payments that never came. At one point, she smiled as she described how she’s known as a “potty mouth.”

During cross-examination on Friday, she tended to be dry and austere, often smiling before answering Avenatti’s questions. Jurors seemed less engaged on his second day on the stand, some slumped in their chairs as the review dragged on.

Prosecutors were expected to finish presenting their case on Monday.

Avenatti has not yet announced whether he will testify himself. Judge Jesse M. Furman suggested that someone else from his defense team ask him questions he wrote for himself if he testifies. Furman told jurors they could begin deliberations next week.

Avenatti is defending against wire fraud and aggravated identity theft charges.

He has previously been sentenced to 2.5 years in prison in another case, in which he was found guilty of attempting to extort up to $25 million from sportswear giant Nike by threatening to harm his reputation if he did not meet his requirements.

Avenatti also questioned Daniels on the stand Friday about public statements she made in which she said she hoped he would be raped in jail.

“Yes,” she admitted, she had said those things.

“So you said it on our podcast and you said it on Twitter,” he asked.

“Yes,” she answered.

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Elna M. Lemons