About 10 days ago, Donald Trump’s longtime personal lawyer and “fixer” Michael Cohen—who is being sued on three fronts by Stormy Daniels—filed a motion with a federal judge in Los Angeles to force Daniels’ media-friendly attorney, Michael Avenatti, to stop talking about the Daniels case in public.
Accusing Avenatti of going on “a publicity tour,” Cohen’s lawyer Brent Blakely told Judge S. James Otero that "Avenatti’s actions are mainly driven by his seemingly unquenchable thirst for publicity,” and that his nearly daily TV and media appearances risk depriving Cohen of a fair trial, should any of the cases against Cohen actually go to trial.
In a Monday filing in Otero’s Los Angeles court, which can be read online at this link, Avenatti responded to the request to shut him up by saying that any gag order that is placed on him must also apply to Trump, and Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani—because both have been outspoken on publicly attacking Daniels.
“The order must go both ways by extending to all parties … and all counsel (whether of record in this matter or otherwise),” Avenatti wrote in the filing. “Any other gag order imposed in the case would be manifestly one-sided and unjust, especially in light of the insults and attacks made against her,” referring to Daniels.
When Cohen and Blakely filed the motion on June 15, Avenatti took to his Twitter account to call the gag order request an “assault in the First Amendment,” and in a later interview slammed the request as “a complete joke and baseless.”
In his Monday filing in response to the gag order request, Avenatt said that slapping him with a gag order would amount to a “prior restraint” on is right to freedom of speech, calling the “prior restraint” principle “one of the heaviest and most disfavored remedies known in American jurisprudence.”
He also scoffed at the claim that his TV appearances would stand in the way of far trial in the case for Cohen, noting that not only is the case nowhere near even setting a trial date, but at Cohen’s request, Otero put the entire case on hold until late July.
Avenatti also cited a 1976 case in which the United States Supreme Court held that “pretrial publicity even pervasive, adverse publicity does not inevitably lead to an unfair trial,” as the Law and Crime blog reported.
But Avenatti also brought up statements made by Giuliani and Trump, disparaging Daniels in public. In one such statement, Giuliani said of Daniels, “I don’t respect a porn star the way I respect a career woman or a woman of substance or a woman who has great respect for herself as a woman and as a person and isn’t going to sell her body for sexual exploitation.”
Giuliani also said that Daniels was untrustworthy and lying about her sexual encounter with Trump, because she performs in porn films. “She has no reputation. If you’re going to sell your body for money, you just don’t have a reputation,” Giuliani said.
Asked about Giuliani’s comments, Trump said, “Not going to disagree with that!”