- Lucas Jackson/Reuters
- Michael Avenatti, the attorney for adult-film actress Stormy Daniels, is in a heated battle with The Wall Street Journal.
- The Journal reported Monday that Avenatti has been less than forthcoming with federal prosecutors investigating President Donald Trump’s longtime lawyer, Michael Cohen.
- Avenatti blasted the story as “completely bogus and designed to undercut us.”
Stormy Daniels’ attorney, Michael Avenatti, battled The Wall Street Journal on Monday after the publication reported that he’s been less than forthcoming with federal prosecutors investigating President Donald Trump’s longtime lawyer, Michael Cohen.
The Journal reported that Avenatti frustrated efforts by the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York to obtain that information. The Journal reported that Avenatti slowed the government’s efforts to discuss a $130,000 nondisclosure agreement with Daniels’ first attorney, Keith Davidson, who helped negotiate the deal. Avenatti also demanded that he review documents investigators subpoenaed from Daniels’ former manager, Gina Rodriguez, the report said.
On Twitter, Avenatti responded to the story, which was written by reporters who have broken many stories in the Cohen-Daniels saga. He called the suggestion that he was “delaying the investigation” untrue.
‘Completely bogus and designed to undercut us’
“Any media report citing ‘unnamed sources’ (and not a single document) suggesting we are delaying the investigation into Mr. Cohen and DJT is completely false and without basis,” he tweeted Tuesday morning. “We have already waived the privilege as to a host of docs and communications to ensure justice is done.”
Earlier he had written that the story had “no real source.”
“No document quoted from or provided,” he tweeted. “Completely bogus and designed to undercut us. Plain and simple.”
Avenatti on Monday had said communication between his side and federal prosecutors occurred on “a regular basis as part of our cooperation with the” government’s investigation.
“It has been delayed by the refusal of people to promptly turn over docs for our review,” he wrote. “If necessary, we will file suit against them.”
Cohen signed the hush-money agreement with Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, to keep her quiet about her allegations of a 2006 affair with Trump. The payment was not reported to the Federal Election Commission or on Trump’s 2017 personal financial disclosure with the Office of Government Ethics.
Initially, Cohen said Trump did not repay him for the expenditure, a claim that Trump’s outside attorney, Rudy Giuliani, later said was not true. Earlier this month, Trump disclosed the payment on his 2018 financial-disclosure report.
Cohen is under criminal investigation in the Southern District of New York for campaign-finance violations and bank fraud. Daniels, meanwhile, is suing Cohen and Trump in California, seeking to invalidate the nondisclosure agreement.
The Journal reported that Avenatti had yet to act on multiple requests by the SDNY for Daniels to waive her attorney-client privilege, which prevents Davidson from discussing his communications with her about the hush-money arrangement. Avenatti had also sent Davidson a cease-and-desist letter last month, ordering him not to disclose any of those communications, according to the report, which added that Avenatti made similar demands of Rodriguez, who was involved in crafting the payment between Daniels and Cohen.
Avenatti told those prosecutors that he was seeking to have Daniels waive that attorney-client privilege, but they’ve come to believe that he’s dragging his feet. The attorney told The Journal that they were still “ironing out the details” regarding turning over the communications.
“We have already started producing documents to the government so any suggestion we are not cooperating is meritless,” Avenatti said.
Davidson had previously denied such allegations.
On Rodriguez, Avenatti said her communications with Daniels are covered by attorney-client privilege because the manager acted as an intermediary between the adult-film actress and Davidson.
Earlier this month, Avenatti targeted Davidson as someone he believed needed more media scrutiny for his role in the agreement. At the heart of the controversy involving Davidson was whether he was zealously advocating for Daniels – or if he was working to actually provide the best possible outcome to Cohen.
“The relationship between these two ‘opposing’ attorneys has been anything but traditional,” Avenatti told Business Insider in an email earlier this month. “Significant questions remain.”