Lawyer linked to Jared Kushner cut from jury pool in Michael Avenatti case
A potential juror in Michael Avenatti’s Nike extortion case was tossed from the jury pool Tuesday — after revealing he’d once served as general counsel for Jared Kushner.
“He’s saying he represented the president’s son-in-law,” defense lawyer Renato Stabile said as he argued real-estate lawyer Brian Cohen should be excused. “Mr. Avenatti is a well-known arch-nemesis of the president of the United States.”
Cohen had just informed Manhattan federal court judge Paul Gardephe that he previously “represented the Kushner family as general counsel for Jared and Charles Kushner.”
Cohen noted that, as their lawyer, he’d closely followed Avenatti’s dealings in the media.
“The Kushner thing is a huge problem,” Gardephe told lawyers for both sides as they discussed whether to dismiss the panelist. The judge added he was also gravely concerned that Cohen had “obsessively read coverage of the case.”
Cohen was ultimately dismissed.
Another prospective juror said he’d once seen Avenatti hanging out with former White House press secretary Anthony Scaramucci at a party, but had never spoken to him. He too was dismissed — though it was over travel plans.
A woman who appeared dressed head-to-toe in Nike was also excused when she said she couldn’t be impartial.
Avenatti stands accused of trying to con the sportswear giant out of more than $20 million in exchange for his silence regarding alleged company corruption.
He’s pleaded not guilty.
Jury selection continues Tuesday.
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