Saturday, 23 February, 2019

Stormy Daniels's lawyer defends release of Cohen Bank data

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Deanna Wagner | 15 May, 2018, 22:29

According to Cohen, Avenatti's report contained inaccurate statements.

Michael Avenatti, the lawyer representing adult film actress Stormy Daniels, defended his explosive disclosure last week of more than $1 million in payments from companies including AT&T Inc.to Michael Cohen, Donald Trump's longtime lawyer and fixer.

But lately, Avenatti has ranged farther afield.

Last week, Avenatti released details of wire transfers to a DE company set up by Cohen shortly before the 2016 election.

In the filing in New York, Avenatti responded to claims from Cohen's attorneys that Avenatti spread false information, and had no right to publicize his bank records.

Then on Sunday, Avenatti tweeted out a series of screenshots from December 12, 2016 showing Cohen and a group of unidentified men in the lobby of Trump Tower.

"I knew he was married, and there he was asking me to go on his plane".

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But Avenatti's revelations left some legal observers wondering what exactly they have to do with his efforts to free Daniels from the non-disclosure deal she says was improperly executed, or to intervene in the criminal proceedings against Cohen now underway in Manhattan.

The reason for this is that Cohen allegedly communicated with Daniels' former lawyer Keith Davidson regarding her hush agreement regarding her alleged affair with Trump, and she wants those communications protected.

Daniels sued Cohen and Trump to get out of the agreement, and on defamation claims over various things both have said about her and the hush agreement in the press and on Twitter.

In response to the bombshell release, Cohen's lawyers sought to bar Avenatti from appearing in court in New York's Southern District, where Cohen has an ongoing case.

Lawyers for Cohen have objected, and Judge Kimba Wood is mulling the issue. The case Avenatti cited, Lane v. Franks, refers to public concern relating to speech by a public employee having to do with their job. Ryan wrote that Avenatti "has no lawful basis to possess" the records, and that several of the transactions in Avenatti's document actually involved different Michael Cohens living in Israel and Canada. Furthermore, Avenatti said he had a First Amendment right to publish the report about Cohen.

"Mr. Avenatti has ... deliberately distorted information from the records which appear to be in his possession for the objective of creating a toxic mix of misinformation", Ryan said in his letter to the court.