He will be opening this morning. I like the move as a matter of strategy.
Meghann Cuniff has some great coverage on Twitter about how it went down yesterday and in this Law.com article:
Michael Avenatti will represent himself in his California client theft trial, wrestling the spot from his taxpayer-funded lawyer minutes before a jury was empaneled Tuesday in an Orange County federal courtroom. In an extraordinary move in a high-stakes white-collar criminal case, Avenatti stood as U.S. District Judge James V. Selna’s clerk was about to swear in 12 jurors and said he had a “Faretta issue,” referring to the 1975 U.S. Supreme Court case Faretta v. California, which established defendant’s right to self represent. “No, no. Sit down. Sit down. Sit down, Michael,” his attorney, solo practitioner H. Dean Steward, told him. It didn’t work. With jurors gone for lunch, Avenatti conferenced with Steward for a few minutes then told Selna he wanted to “participate in my defense.” Avenatti told the judge jurors don’t seem to differentiate between civil and criminal defense attorneys, and he was “critically concerned that if I do not play a role in my defense that that will be held against me.” Avenatti told Selna he’s “still a member of the [California State] Bar. I’m under temporary suspension, just to be clear.” Selna warned him: “You can’t appear in this court in a capacity as an attorney with that suspension.”
Avenatti is very forceful and clear in his questioning. Not easy to describe, but that's what I keep going to. He's looking at the juror while standing at the podium, nodding and listening. Guy is talking about his panic attacks.— Meghann Cuniff (@meghanncuniff) July 20, 2021