Avenatti: Michael Cohen Tried To Block Stormy Daniels Hiring Me

For the second straight day, Stormy Daniels’ lawyer, Michael Avenatti, released a previously confidential email from Donald Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen to Keith Davidson, the lawyer who arranged the $130,000 “hush money” payment to Daniels from Cohen. Avenatti made the post to his Twitter account early Friday morning, and said that it shows Cohen trying to interfere with Daniels’ attempt to change lawyers from Davidson to Avenatti.

On Thursday, Avenatti posted an email from Cohen to Davidson dated April 11—just two days after the FBI conducted raids on Cohen’s office, home and hotel room, seizing crates of documents including some relating to the $130,000 payoff that Cohen made to the AVN Hall of Famer just days before the 2016 presidential election, to keep her quote about her alleged sexual encounter with Trump.

Friday’s email posted to Twitter by Avenatti is dated February 22, 2018, a time when apparently Daniels was in the process of hiring Avenatti, who first emerged as her lawyer when she filed her initial lawsuit against Cohen and Trump on March 6.

The subject line of the email from Cohen is “PP-vs-DD NDA,” a reference to the non-disclosure agreement between Daniels, who was assigned the alias “Peggy Peterson” by Cohen, and Trump, who used the pseudonym “David Dennison.”

“It is my understanding that (Ms. Daniels) has or is seeking the advice of additional counsel regarding the above matter,” Cohen wrote in the email, which may be read online at this link

Cohen goes on to warn Davidson that the NDA “is deemed Attorneys Eyes Only, specifically naming you and I. Under no circumstances  should you forward this document or the exhibits to anyone without my express written consent.”

Of course, Avenatti did obtain the NDA document, which became part of Daniels' lawsuit less than two weeks later. But Avenatti said Friday that the email shows Cohen attempting to “interfere” with Daniels’ attempt to get a new lawyer.

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

A former federal prosecutor who recently ran for Illinois state attorney general said that under rules of legal ethics, Davidson was required to turn over the documents to Daniels' new attorney.

“It would be unethical for an attorney to withhold documents relating to the representation of a client from the client or the new attorney she hired,” wrote Renato Mariotti, who is also a frequent television commentator on legal issues. “An attorney is supposed to act in the best interest of the client at all times and cannot interfere in her choice of counsel.”

But where did Avenatti obtain private emails between Cohen and Davidson? According to Avenatti, the emails came from Davidson himself. After he posted Thursday’s email, Avenatti told Britain’s Daily Mail newspaper that he “demanded” the email from Davidson, who then turned it over.

“I have been trying to get those documents from Mr. Davidson for months,” Avenatti later told the MSNBC Rachel Maddow Show. “(Thursday’s) email was provided to me within the last 24 hours.” Avenatti has not yet confirmed whether the email he released on Friday was also provided by Davidson.

In the initial lawsuit against Cohen and Trump, Avenatti and Daniels claim that the NDA is null and void because Trump never put his signature on the document. Cohen has claimed that "neither the Trump Organization nor the Trump campaign” was part of the deal, and that he acted on his own—but according to Avenatti the subject line of Cohen’s email clearly states that the NDA is between Daniels and Trump.

Photos by J. Chang / IowaPolitics.com / Wikimedia Commons