Avenatti Says Trump Has Little Chance in NY Case: ‘Don’t Think That He Can Get a Fair Trial’


OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.

Michael Avenatti, an imprisoned convicted felon, was interviewed by MSNBC’s Ari Melber to learn his opinions about the criminal trial of former President Donald Trump in New York.

Avenatti is presently serving a 19-year sentence for identity theft, fraud, extortion, and obstruction. He is accused of stealing money from a book written by Stormy Daniels, his former client, in part because of this. During the Trump administration, the former attorney rose to prominence on cable news due to his advocacy of Daniels, the woman Trump had an extramarital affair with.

In Manhattan, District Attorney Alvin Bragg has charged the former president with 34 felonies, alleging that he falsified business records to hide payments made to cover up the affair. To the charges, Trump has entered a not guilty plea.

Melber spoke by phone with Avenatti, who joined Tuesday’s edition of The Beat on MSNBC from Federal Correctional Institution, Terminal Island, in California.

“Michael, have you been in touch with D.A. Bragg’s office?” Melber asked. “And what specifically in evidence or logic do you think is wrong with this case?”

“I’m going to decline to answer as to whether I’ve been in touch with either the defense or the D.A.s office,” Avenatti replied. “But let me say this in response to the second part of your question. You know, I think the case has a lot of problems. Now that– I don’t mean to suggest that means that Trump will not be convicted because I think he will be convicted because number one, he’s a criminal defendant in our society. I don’t believe criminal defendants generally get a fair shake.”


Avenatti then repeated claims by lawyers for Trump, who have unsuccessfully sought a change of venue.

“I don’t think that he can get a fair trial in New York. And to the people who claim that in fact, he can get a fair trial in New York with a New York jury, I would ask them, if they were to go to sleep tonight and wake up tomorrow and find out that the case had been moved to Mississippi or Alabama, would they still think the trial was going to be fair?” Avenatti said.

Avenatti added: “And I think if they were being honest, they would answer no. So, I don’t think he can get a fair trial in New York.”

Avenatti criticized Michael Cohen, who paid Daniels $130,000 to keep quiet about her affair with Trump, and doubted Cohen’s ability to be a reliable witness.

“From my perspective, I surmise that the D.A. Is going to use potentially Michael Cohen or Stormy Daniels for that purpose,” Avenatti added. “And I think that has the potential to be a disaster. Michael Cohen – and you know I’ve never been a fan of Michael for various reasons – you know, he’s a serial liar. He’s shown himself to be incapable of telling the truth. His legal acumen leaves a lot to be desired. Let’s just say if Learned Hand or Clarence Darrow had a lovechild, it certainly wouldn’t be someone like Michael Cohen.”



Earlier this week, a New York appeals court judge delivered an 11th-hour ruling and rejected Trump’s request to delay his April 15 criminal trial while he fights to move the case out of Manhattan.

The former president’s most recent attempt to postpone the momentous trial was unsuccessful on Monday when a New York appeals court judge denied his request to delay his criminal trial until April 15 while he worked to move the case out of Manhattan.

The presumed Republican nominee, according to Trump’s attorney, Emil Bove, faces “real potential prejudice” as a defendant in Manhattan, which leans Democratic. Starting on Monday, Bove claimed that jury selection “cannot proceed fairly,” citing defense surveys and an analysis of media coverage.

The only New York City borough that Trump won in 2016 and 2020, Staten Island, is where he has suggested moving the trial to social media.

The Manhattan district attorney’s office appellate chief, Steven Wu, pointed out that trial Judge Juan M. Merchan had previously denied Trump’s requests to reschedule or reschedule the trial, citing them as premature.

“The question in this case is not whether a random poll of New Yorkers from whatever neighborhood can be impartial, it’s about whether a trial court can select a jury of 12 impartial jurors,” Wu said. He blamed Trump for stoking pretrial publicity with “countless media appearances talking about the facts of this case, the witnesses, and so on.”

In an additional appeal, Trump’s attorneys are contesting a gag order placed on him during the case; Merchan recently extended the order to forbid Trump from discussing the judge’s family. The appeals court suggested that it would consider that case later.

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