politics

Avenatti Says Cohen Tried to Hide Stormy Deal’s Trump Link

Updated on

Russian Payment to Michael Cohen's Firm 'Extraordinary,' Bauer Says

Donald Trump’s lawyer tried to keep a document linking the president to a $130,000 “hush” payment to the porn actress Stephanie Clifford hidden from any new lawyers she might hire, her attorney Michael Avenatti said.

Trump’s longtime personal lawyer Michael Cohen wrote to Keith Davidson, Clifford’s attorney on the deal, urging him not to forward to anyone else a document that names the parties in the deal “without my express written consent,” according to an image of the Feb. 2 email posted by Avenatti on Twitter on Friday.

Cohen wrote the email after hearing that Clifford, whose stage name is Stormy Daniels, was looking to change lawyers. Clifford sued Trump a month later claiming that the deal, which uses pseudonyms for the parties, was invalid because Trump didn’t sign it.

“Knowing what we know now, no wonder Mr. Cohen was doing everything he could to interfere with Ms. Daniels’s efforts to get new counsel,” Avenatti said in the tweet. “He was desperate to avoid the cover-up from surfacing and was afraid that competent counsel would expose him and Mr. Trump.”

The email “shows the extreme efforts Michael Cohen was willing to go to in order to cover-up his conduct,” Avenatti told Bloomberg via email. He declined to say how he got the communication between Cohen and Davidson, who wrote the 2016 non-disclosure agreement under the aliases David Dennison and Peggy Peterson.

Trump has denied having sex with Daniels. He initially said he didn’t know about the payment but has since said he was aware of the agreement.

Clifford’s case was put on hold after Cohen became embroiled in a federal criminal investigation over his private financial and business dealings, in a case that was referred to U.S. prosecutors in New York by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating possible coordination between the Trump presidential campaign and Russia.

Avenatti is seeking to be heard in Cohen’s criminal case at a hearing scheduled for May 24. Cohen this week accused Avenatti of wrongdoing in the case after he published bombshell details of wire transfers to Cohen’s consulting firm by companies including AT&T Inc., Novartis AG and a U.S. private-equity firm tied to a Trump-supporting Russian oligarch.

Avenatti has declined to say how he got the records.

(Updates with May 24 hearing in eighth paragraph.)
    Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal. LEARN MORE