- Michael Avenatti, the attorney for adult-film actress Stormy Daniels, alleged that lawyer Michael Cohen, or someone connected to him, is selectively leaking audio tapes.
- Avenatti alleged the leaks were of material obtained by the FBI in raids of Cohen’s home, office, and hotel, in an effort to make Daniels look bad.
Adult-film star Stormy Daniels’ attorney, Michael Avenatti, alleged in a Tuesday court filing that President Donald Trump’s longtime lawyer Michael Cohen or members of his legal team are selectively leaking audio tapes to the media of material seized in FBI raids of Cohen’s home, office, and hotel.
“We further have reason to believe that the recordings may relate to our client, Ms. Stephanie Clifford,” Avenatti wrote, using Daniels’ real name. “We think that these select leaks are meant to paint a false narrative relating to Mr. Cohen and his business dealings at the same time he is not disclosing numerous other recordings of him speaking with individuals such as Mr. Trump.”
It was not immediately clear to what exactly Avenatti was referring. The attorney did not point to any specific media reports, and none appeared to be based off of such leaks as of Tuesday afternoon. He did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Cohen’s attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider.
In the court filing, Avenatti asked US District Judge Kimba Wood to ask Cohen’s lawyers about the leaks during an upcoming Thursday hearing.
At the moment, Avenatti is seeking to be admitted into Cohen’s case, which is being held in the Southern District of New York. Trump’s longtime attorney is under criminal investigation for possible campaign-finance violations and bank fraud.
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Meanwhile, Daniels is suing Cohen and Trump, seeking to get out of a non-disclosure agreement Cohen facilitated just prior to the 2016 presidential election. She was paid $130,000 for her silence. Trump recently admitted, via his financial disclosure, that he reimbursed Cohen for making that $130,000 payment to Daniels.
In a Friday court filing, Cohen’s lawyers argued at length why Avenatti shouldn’t be allowed to appear in the case. The lawyers wrote that Avenatti had created a “carnival atmosphere” and should not be allowed into the New York court.
Avenatti focused on “smearing” Cohen in an effort “to further his own interest in garnering as much media attention as possible,” Cohen’s attorneys wrote.
Avenatti called those arguments “without merit and frivolous” and said it “speaks volumes that they so desperately” want him excluded from the case. On Monday, the US attorneys office for the Southern District of New York declined to oppose Avenatti’s motion to appear before the court.
At the moment, a special master is overseeing a document review of the items obtained by the government in the raids to determine what does and does not fall under attorney-client privilege.
“Such leaks would plainly call into question the seriousness of Mr. Cohen’s arguments opposing my pro hac vice motion,” Avenatti wrote Tuesday. “They may also directly interfere with the privilege review being conducted by the Special Master. Further, if the materials publicly disclosed relate to our client, the disclosures would also have relevance to our motion to intervene.”