Attorney for Stormy Daniels, Michael Avenatti, fired off three tweets in mid March that sharply criticized President Donald Trump and his lawyer Michael Cohen for filing a $20 million lawsuit to silence Daniels.
“The filing today is yet another bullying tactic from the president and Mr. Cohen. They are now attempting to remove this case to federal ct in order to increase their chances that the matter will be decided in private arbitration, thus hiding the truth from the public.
Avenatti asked rhetorically how they can sue for “damages against my client based on an agreement that he and Mr. Cohen claim Mr. Trump never was a party to and knew nothing about? …(they’re) suing … for attempting to tell the public the truth about the relationship and the cover-up.”
And Avenatti said not only was his client harassed into signing a non-disclosure agreement, she was physically threatened. And he said that there may be six additional women with accusations against the president, though not all of their claims have been fully checked out.
Avenatti said in court documents his client was paid $130,000 for a ‘Hush Agreement’ not worth the paper it’s printed on since it’s unsigned by Pres. Donald Trump, identified in the pact with the alias David Dennison (DD). Daniels’ real name is Stephanie Clifford. In the agreement she’s called Peggy Peterson (PP).
Reports last Sunday and this week indicated Trump lawyers were trying put the kibosh on a ’60 Minutes’ Stormy Daniels story, Avenatti shared.
Anderson Cooper interviewed Daniels on March 8 but the segment will be televised on the CBS TV news magazine Sunday, March 25.
Friday evening Avenatti tweeted:
In October of 2016 after the Access Hollywood tape leaked, Trump and his attorney Michael Cohen sought to shut up the porn star with a non-disclosure agreement and a wire transfer of the money which came from a dummy company set up by Cohen just to move the payout. Cohen said recently that the entire arrangement was done without the knowledge of the President, his campaign or The Trump Organization. Avenatti says “it strains credibility to conclude that Mr. Cohen is acting on his own accord without the express approval or knowledge of his client Mr. Trump.”
Earlier this month, as Avenatti was making the rounds doing interviews about the ‘Hush Agreement,’ White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders waved away questions on the matter saying Trump had “won in arbitration” on the non-disclosure agreement. Avenatti said if there was no agreement since the President never signed it, there was nothing to arbitrate and wants a court to stipulate to that fact: without Trump’s signature, the so-called ‘Hush Agreement’ is not one and Clifford is free to discuss or share wants she wants about the “intimate relationship” she had with the President from the summer of 2006 “well into the year 2007.”
But the New York Times reported that Cohen “secretly obtained a restraining order last week” to keep Clifford quiet.
As the plot thickens, here’s what you need to know:
1. Avenatti Claimed That Trump & His Lawyer Cohen Used ‘Intimidation & Coercive Tactics’ & Physical Threats to Quiet Stormy Daniels
From the beginning, following the release of the so-called Access Hollywood Tape wherein Trump is heard bragging about sexually assaulting women, Stormy Daniels wanted to get her story out there, Avenatti said in court documents: “After discovering her plans, Mr. Trump with the assistance of his attorney aggressively saw to silence (her) as part of an effort to avoid (her) telling the truth thus helping to ensure he won the presidential election.”
Following the Wall Street Journal story in January about the existence of the ‘Hush Agreement,’ Avenatti said, “through intimidation and coercive tactics forced her into signing a false statement wherein she stated that reports of her relationship with Mr. Trump were false.”
Avenatti said that attempts to “intimidate her into silence and shut her up in order to protect Mr. Trump continue unabated.”
And Avenatti said on Feb. 27, Cohen “surreptitiously initiated a bogus arbitration proceeding against” Stormy Daniels in Los Angeles without notice or due process in an effort to “silence her through the use of an improper and procedurally defective arbitration proceeding hidden from public view …” Avenatti said there can be “no doubt that Mr. Trump at all times has been fully aware” of the agreement, the use of a company to pay her off and of the bogus arbitration proceeding.
Meanwhile, Wednesday the White House said Trump ‘won’ against Daniels.
Avenatti took the opportunity to mock Sanders’ statement.
The White House later walked back that initial statement.
2. Avenatti Wants a Judgment Declaring There’s No Valid Non-Disclosure Agreement Since Trump Never Signed It
Each page is initialed by Daniels (Clifford) and Cohen for the set-up company ‘Essential Consultants LLC.’ But the last page of the agreement with notarized signatures has just hers and Cohen’s; the space for the signature of Donald Trump aka David Dennison is left blank.
In the court documents Avenatti filed, he said, “On or about October 28, 2016, only days before the election, two of the parties signed the hush agreement – Ms. Clifford and Mr. Cohen on behalf of EC. agreement, thus rendering it legally null and void and of no consequence. On information and belief, despite having detailed knowledge of the ‘Hush Agreement’ and its terms, including the proposed payment of monies to Ms. Clifford and the routing of those monies through EC, Mr. Trump purposely did not sign the agreement so he could later, if need be, publicly disavow any knowledge of the ‘Hush Agreement’ and Ms. Clifford. “
In a departure for a Trump loyalist, Jay Goldberg, an attorney who worked for Trump from 1990 to 2005, said on Fox News that if Trump didn’t sign, there is no agreement.
3. Avenatti Has Won $1 Billion in Verdicts & Settlements For His Clients
Avenatti, a self-described “high-profile” LA-based lawyer actually is one. He’s won mammoth judgments for clients, appears on television and in the print media as a commentator, and has had cases that were in the national and international spotlight, not the least of which is his current case. But Avenatti was the attorney who fought and won the April 2017 $454 Million verdict in a fraud case against Kimberly-Clark and Halyard Health, dubbed the ‘Strike Through’ case against the American manufacturers of faulty protective garments and gear during the Ebola crisis which was covered by Anderson Cooper for CBS’ 60 Minutes.
Avenatti’s website is packed with clips from various news programs, articles where he’s featured and staggering stats about his big wins. During his career, Avenatti has been responsible as lead counsel for over $1 billion in verdicts and settlements, including a number in excess of $10,000,000.
4. Avenatti Has a Number of High Profile Cases Fought & Won & Some A-List Celebrity Clients Like Paris Hilton
Avenatti attended law school at George Washington University. He worked at a political opposition research and media firm run by Rahm Emanuel where he worked on over 150 campaigns in 42 states, including multiple gubernatorial and congressional campaigns. As an attorney in LA, Avenatti worked with Daniel Petrocelli, who previously represented the Goldman family in its case against O.J. Simpson. He assisted Petrocelli on multiple legal matters, including the representation of singer Christina Aguilera and litigation surrounding the movie K-19: The Widowmaker, and worked extensively on the defense of the Eagles’ Don Henley and Glen Frey in various cases, including in a well-publicized suit brought by former bandmate Don Felder against the band and Irving Azoff.
At a LA-based litigation firm he oversaw high-profile cases, including a $10 million defamation case against Paris Hilton; a successful idea theft lawsuit involving the reality show The Apprentice and its producer, Mark Burnett, as well as Donald Trump; and a large corporate multi-national embezzlement case involving in excess of $42,000,000.
In 2015, Michael prevailed against the National Football League after a two-week jury trial in Dallas after obtaining a court order requiring Jerry Jones to attend trial and be cross-examined.
Avenatti has received numerous honors and awards for his legal work, including being voted by his peers as the top trial lawyer of the year, according to his bio and LinkedIn page.
5. Avenatti Is a Serious Sports Car Racing Enthusiast, Think Le Mans
Or at least he was in 2015 when he posted images from June of 2015 which not only coincided with Le Mans, but he used the 24LM hashtag in some posts.
The 24 Hours of Le Mans is the oldest endurance sports car race in the world and has been run every year near Le Mans, France since 1923.
A review of Le Mans 2015 described a “race that sucked me into the sports car world. The lengths that teams will go to just to be competitive in this one race is mind boggling. The technology of the cars involved, the speeds that are obtained are borderline ludicrous. I have the numbers to show you that.”
So when Arenatti is not suing presidents, he’s driving in international sports car races. Or at least he was in 2015.