The jury in the Michael Avenatti federal criminal trial is asking the judge for help, saying that one of the 12 is “acting on a feeling” and not considering the evidence.
“We have one juror who is refusing to look at evidence and is acting on a feeling. We need assistance on moving forward. She does not believe she needs to prove her side using evidence and refuses to show us how she has come to her conclusion,” the note said, according to Judge Jesse Furman.
“Please help us move forward not going on any evidence, all emotions and does not understand this job of a jury,” the note added, with the word “please” underlined.
Prosecutors alleged in this case that Avenatti — who helped negotiate the $800,000 advance for Stormy Daniels’ October 2018 book “Full Disclosure” — defrauded his former client by instructing her literary agent to send two of the installments of the advance totaling nearly $300,000 to an account controlled by him, rather than directly to Daniels, without her knowledge.
Avenatti, who denies the charges, moved for a mistrial arguing that the jury is clearly deadlocked, and any further instruction or action would be coercive.
Furman considered the motion but denied it saying, “I don’t think we’re there yet.”
The jury has been deliberating since Wednesday.
Furman also denied prosecutors’ request to ask the jury foreperson to identify the holdout juror so the court may consider remedies including dismissal of that juror for refusing to deliberate.
Just before noon, the judge brought the jury into the courtroom to instruct jurors of their duties to deliberate based on the evidence and charge them to continue pushing forward. The instruction in part reminded jurors they are not “to be swayed by sympathy or emotion” when considering evidence to reach a verdict.
The jury of seven women and five men had no visible reactions to the judge’s instructions.