Stormy Daniels’ lawyer Michael Avenatti, just two days after he said that he is considering a 2020 run for president, has been named as a defendant in a lawsuit by former Playboy Playmate Shera Bechard—and Avenatti says that he has “no idea” why.
The lawsuit was filed on Friday in Los Angeles Superior Court, and immediately sealed for 20 days by Judge Ruth A. Kwan, at Bechard’s request. But Kwan said that if Bechard wants the lawsuit to remain under seal longer than that period, she has 20 days to file her reasons why with the court.
Bechard is the Playboy model who received—or was supposed to receive—a $1.6 million hush money payoff arranged by Donald Trump’s personal lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen.
But unlike in the Stormy Daniels or Karen McDougal cases, this payoff—which was more than 10 times the amount that either Daniels or McDougal received—was allegedly not to keep Bechard quiet about an affair with Trump, but rather with top Republican fundraiser Elliot Broidy.
When the payments became public after the FBI seized documents from Cohen in April, Broidy quickly admitted not only the affair, but that he had impregnated Bechard and paid for her abortion.
The strange circumstances around the payoff has led to speculation that Bechard’s affair was, indeed, with Trump after all—a possible scenario that AVN.com has covered in detail at this link, and at this link.
However, on Monday, The Wall Street Journal reported that Broidy had stopped sending the installment payments to Bechard, citing breach of contract—which appears to be where Avenatti comes into the picture. Broidy claims that Bechard’s lawyer Keith Davidson—who also, as AVN.com has reported, initially represented both Daniels and McDougal as well—improperly communicated with Avenatti about the Broidy hush money payoff.
When or why such communication may have occurred remains unclear. Davidson denied the allegation, calling it “false and defamatory.” But Avenatti played a bit more coy with the Journal, telling the paper, “I’m neither going to confirm nor deny what information I have about this, whether it’s all been disclosed yet, or where I learned it. But I would encourage Ms. Bechard to disclose everything she knows about this situation to the public.”
On Friday, Avenatti was somewhat more definitive, posting a statement on his Twitter account, saying that he has “no idea” why he was named as a defendant, “unless it is a ploy by Ms. Bechard to get publicity.”
Avenatti went on to state, “I was never a party to any agreement with (Bechard) and I never had any obligation to her."
He also called the judge’s order to seal the lawsuit, “highly unusual under California law.” In fact, sealing court records is unusual in any state, because courts have ruled that in general, the First Amendment gives the public the right to access court proceedings and documents.
Shera Bechard, Wikimedia Commons; Michael Avenetti, MSNBC screen capture