Nike has denied Avenatti’s claims of corruption, and prosecutors want to block him from politicizing the trial.

That is also the hope of U.S. District Judge Paul Gardephe, who has excluded evidence he fears will distract jurors.

“Nothing would please me more” than to keep references to Trump and Daniels out of the trial, Gardephe said at a Jan. 22 hearing, while acknowledging their names would come up.

Lawyers are for the most part “not the most sympathetic defendants,” said Thaddeus Hoffmeister, a law professor at Ohio’s University of Dayton and jury consultant.