In a battle between lawyers, it appears as if Donald Trump’s personal lawyer is being bested by an attorney representing Stephanie Clifford, aka Stormy Daniels. That lawyer, Michael Avenatti, has come out confirming that Daniels did indeed have a sexual relationship with Donald Trump. Avenatti is also asserting that blunders and misdeeds by Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, should clear Daniels of her obligations under the non-disclosure agreement she signed in exchange for $130,000. Stormy Daniels is now suing President Trump, using Avenatti as her lawyer, asserting that Trump’s failure to sign the non-disclosure agreement in question invalidates the agreement. According to The Hill:
In an interview with Savannah Guthrie, attorney Michael Avenatti succinctly responded “yes” when asked whether his client had a sexual relationship with Trump in 2006, whose youngest son, Barron Trump, was born the same year. “She’s looking to disclose the truth about what happened,” Avenatti said. “At this point, in light of the amount of misinformation that Mr. Cohen has put out there to The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and others, I think it’s time for her to tell her story and for the public to decide who’s telling the truth…Mr. Trump did not sign (the nondisclosure agreement). We believe that that was so that he could later claim deniability, and therefore, from a legal perspective, we believe she’s free to talk,” he said.
Trump’s failure to sign the nondisclosure agreement is not the only basis Daniels has for saying that the agreement is invalid. After watchdog groups came out saying the $130,000 payment to Daniels may have violated campaign finance laws, if the money came from the Trump campaign, Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, admitted to giving Daniels the $130,000, but said it was his own personal money, not from either Trump or the Trump campaign. That claim seems highly doubtful, and even if Cohen did use his personal money, he did so on his clients behalf, and reports have emerged that Cohen had complained to people in his personal life that Trump had not reimbursed him for the money, indicating an expectation that Trump would indeed be reimbursing him.
Daniels’ lawyer, Michael Avenatti also made it clear in his interview today that he does not believe Cohen’s claims that he used only his own personal funds. According to The Hill, Avenatti said, “We think it’s highly questionable as to whether it came from his personal funds. The idea that an attorney would go off on his own, without his client’s knowledge, engage in this type of negotiation, and enter in this type of agreement quite honestly I think is ludicrous.”
No matter where the hush money came from to give to Daniels, the fact that Cohen admitted giving it to her could also be viewed as violating the nondisclosure agreement, giving Daniels another basis for saying the agreement is now invalid, freeing her to talk. So both Trump’s failure to sign the agreement and Cohen’s admission that he payed Daniels pursuant to the agreement are bases for Daniels and her lawyer to claim the agreement is invalid.
Here is a video of Avenatti’s interview on the Today Show this morning:
President Trump extramarital sexual indiscretions may not really be any of our business, but his attempt to buy someone’s silence certainly is. That would of course be an ethics violation, and would indicate that Trump was vulnerable to blackmail as well, which is a very problematic status for the President of the United States.