It’s Wednesday in Orange County, California, and I’m here at the federal courthouse because Judge Selna is getting the gang back together again i.e. there’s a 9 a.m. status conference in Michael Avenatti’s wire fraud case. Follow this thread for updates from the courtroom. ⚖️🧵⚖️
The judge called this status conference after receiving reports of trouble on the Tabs3 front, with Avenatti already saying a trial continuance is needed and prosecutors artfully telling Selna his mistrial ruling was flat wrong. Here's the USA's brief:
And here's Avenatti's status update on the remaining financial data @TheJusticeDept is to give him. He's in court now awaiting Judge Selna, and was asking AUSA Patrick Fitzgerald of the privilege-review team aka taint team about the remaining files.
Basically, they're still waiting on a lot of stuff, and Fitzgerald said the process is actually getting slower. Something about a million files a day? Selna just took the bench, so we're about to hear more.
It's just Fitzgerald and AUSA Alex Wyman today, no AUSA Brett Sagel. Avenatti is here with standby counsel Dean Steward and Courtney Cummings Cefali. Selna cuts right to the chase, asks Fitzgerald if it's true Avenatti hasn't been given anything else since the mistrial on Aug. 24
Fitzgerald says yes. When does he expect the indexing to finish? Fitzgerald says somewhere between tomorrow and two weeks from tomorrow. Selna asks about technical problems, and Fitzgerald says one server with 2 terabytes is unexpectedly slow.
Once indexing is complete, Fitzgerald says they'll be able to conduct the searches quickly. "The problem is it is hard to know how fast [the program] will index" Was going it much faster, but it's fallen to 1 million files a day. There are 24 million files to go through.
Selna asks about producing the forensic copy of the servers to Avenatti. Avenatti says it's accurate that Fitzgerald agreed with him back in August to give him copies, "then when Mr. Sagel and Mr. Wyman. caught wind of it they said, 'No, we will not agree.'"
Selna acknowledges he's repeatedly denied Avenatti's request for copies of the server images, but signals a reversal of course, saying, "Why should I simply order production of the forensic copy" of the servers?
Avenatti: "My position is you should" which would moot the issue in court today and "also protect my rights and also prevent any similar issues" that led to the mistrial in the first place.
Wyman says he and Sagel wouldn't stipulate to Avenatti getting server copies because of Judge Selna's three previous orders denying such access.
"We just don't believe we're entitled to say, 'Yes, do the opposite of what the court ordered,'" Wyman says.
After three previous rejections, Selna takes the bull by the horns and orders @TheJusticeDept to give Avenatti forensic copies of his law firm servers "no later than noon tomorrow." Next issue is whether Avenatti should get the copies of the indexing that's gone on so far.
Selna asks why Avenatti shouldn't have indexing that's gone on so far. Fitzgerald says process is "not like getting files just copied and off the computer the way we normally would do it. It's more like getting the @Westlaw system off WestLaw and onto someone else's computers."
Avenatti points out that @TheJusticeDept actually has indexed copies of the servers back in D.C. Selna asks how he knows that, and Avenatti says DOJ agent Joe Varani testified so during trial and Fitzgerald has confirmed.
This is what Avenatti was asking Fitzgerald about before hearing - he asked if Agent Taschyan could fly to DC. Avenatti tells Selna he wants two things - the server copies by noon as ordered, and the indexed copy, whether it's the one in DC or the one that's yet to be completed.
"I will then take that data to my expert and we will get these searches done as quickly as possible," Avenatti says.
"You'll take care of that?" Judge Selna asks.
"Yes, sir," Avenatti answers.
Selna asks Fitzgerald "is there not an existing indexed file?"
Fitzgerald says yes, it's with the DOJ crime lab in DC. The judge flexes his tech knowledge muscles, telling Fitzgerald he knows the info must be able to be copied and delivered "however voluminous."
Selna is 76, but "I've been dealing with computers since 1971," referencing his work with @IBM while at @omelvenymyers.
Fitzgerald: "I will talk to everyone on our side to explore all options."
The judge sets another status conference for Monday at 9:30 a.m. Tells USA if Varani or another tech expert needs to be there "please arrange for that."
Then Selna says he wants to make something clear. "The Nov. 2 trial date is a firm trial date."
"Everyone, including the court, is going to work to ensure that happens," Selna says. This certainly doesn't bode well for Avenatti's double jeopardy motion, which is due Sept. 17 for Oct. 4 hearing.
"I ensure you one way or the other, that trial date will happen," Selna says.
And that's it. Hearing ended 15ish minutes ago. I'm still in court, catching up and listening to Selna do a phone conference in another case I've tracked, a bizarre RICO lawsuit involving accusations of fake class actions. (Some people say court is boring; I say they're boring.)
Fun fact: We here at @lawdotcom did a photo shoot with Judge Selna recently. We weren’t able to round up the courthouse cats as props, but he did humor us with some hallway poses. We’ll be showcasing these great photos in our coverage of Avenatti case and other Selna endeavors.
Here’s a cool angle of the courthouse. This street art bird in @CityofSantaAna keeps a watchful eye. 🪶
Don't miss my latest story on the Avenatti saga, from the bankruptcy court files. Michael Eagan is probably the most public yet mysterious figure in Avenatti's cross-country judicial odyssey. Now the bankruptcy trustee wants $1.3 million.
Update: The street artist who brought us that bird has a name, and it's Jonathan Martinez. Thanks, @CityofSantaAna.
Here’s my story on this morning’s hearing, online now for @lawdotcom and showcasing a great new photo of Judge Selna. ⚖️
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More from @meghanncuniff

15 Sep
Another chapter in Orange County homeless saga continues w/ motion to halt closure of service provider. This is part of a proposed class action, and not exactly the harmonious dispute resolution process Judge Carter's consent decrees were aimed at:
This isn't completely unexpected, as there are other lawsuits including Santa Ana's still-pending lawsuit against OC over jail releases and out-of-city transfers, which I wrote about last year for @timesocofficial.
But it's worth noting that people in LA celebrate Judge Carter's involvement up there because they want to replicate the same kind of consent decree dispute resolution process. But that assumes things are actually going well in OC, which is in reality heavily debatable.
Read 8 tweets
13 Sep
Avenatti just filed a status report that says @TheJusticeDept still hasn’t given him all relevant financial data, and the taint team “is unable to provide a firm estimate as to when the remaining financial data will be produced.”
Avenatti says ongoing conflict with the taint team over the scope of the searches “will probably require the intervention of the Court finally to resolve.” He hasn’t asked for a trial continuance…yet.
Of course, it's always in the footnotes. "As a result, a modification to the case schedule and trial will almost certainly be required."
Read 14 tweets
26 Aug
This is the big question in his California case right now - will the judge in New York extend Avenatti’s prison report date, currently set for Sept. 15? Avenatti filed his motion this morning asking to push it back to December.
Obviously this is totally out of Judge Selna’s hands. This will be decided by Judge Gardephe in the Southern District of New York, the judge who sentenced Avenatti to 30 months for the Nike extortion plot.
There’s long been friction between the two cases. Gardephe was not happy with Avenatti’s pre-trial arrest at his California State Bar hearing in January 2020 because it threw the pending Nike trial into (brief) disarray.
Read 37 tweets
24 Aug
I’m here at the federal courthouse in Santa Ana for what could be the 19th day of testimony in Michael Avenatti’s wire fraud trial. First, Judge Selna will consider a mistrial motion over newly released and also still missing financial data. Follow this thread for updates. ⚖️🧵⚖️
I sat down in my usual spot a minute ago. Only Judge Selna and his clerk were in the courtroom. "Good morning. We should put a little name tag on that chair," the judge said after I sat down. (He's back in his chambers now. That was the extent of the discussion.)
Avenatti and prosecutors are due at 8. This @lawdotcom article from last night is a hub of all our reporting on this Tabs and mistral motion. You'll find past coverage, links to the court filings and more.
Read 102 tweets
24 Aug
Reviewing the history of Michael Avenatti’s requests to access his law firm's servers means revisiting the crucial role of the court-appointed receiver for the bankrupt firm. This thread tracks the evolving argument through court filings and my past reporting. ⚖️🧵⚖️
Avenatti 1st raised issue in July 2019, calling it "critical" to his defense.
"…government counsel wrote that if the defense wants access to the servers, ' will need to raise those specific concerns with the Receiver.'"
The receiver was Brian Weiss, a CPA who eventually was replaced by court-appointed trustee Richard Marshack. This happened after Weiss moved Eagan Avenatti into Ch 7 bankruptcy, which thwarted several lawsuits against the firm over misappropriated money.
Read 25 tweets
23 Aug
Here's an update on @Tabs3Software saga in Avenatti's wire fraud trial. The full filing (on Google Drive: says this email was sent "in Advance of the Telephonic Status Conference Held Earlier this Afternoon Re Server Files."
That's the first I've heard of this afternoon's phone conference, so I'm trying to learn more about what went down. Stay tuned. As of right now, the case is still on Judge Selna's calendar tomorrow for 10:30 a.m.
Some fun background on @Tabs3Software ("WHAT IS TABS?"): Its maker, Software Technology, Inc., was named the most innovative billing software of 2016 by @ALMMedia (a.k.a my employer! 😎).
Read 35 tweets

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