Stormy Weather Ahead

As you may have heard, there is an interview on CBS 60 Minutes tonight of former Trump paramour Stormy Daniels. In the last 48 hours, there have been a slew of Stormy biographies. From the New York Times, the Washington Post, and CNN. All worth a check if you are interested, but all paint a similar picture.

It is a picture of a modern empowered and self assured woman. She is no slouch, she is bright and ready. It was been all too casual for the press to early on slough her off and characterize her as a “porn star” like that automatically makes some throw away bimbo. Clearly, nothing is further from the case.

The picture that emerges on closer inspection is far different. She is an informed and savvy woman in full. She is a mother and businesswoman, and one who understands and worries about the conflicts between the two. Karen McDougal, in her Thursday interview on CNN came off as genuine and honest, even if somewhat lost in why she is here with all of the public now. Daniels has none of that. And her story is, within the salacious category Trump brings us to consider, far more compelling.

The stories of Daniels and McDougall were literally concurrent, starting with a golf tournament tete a tete at the Tahoe Pro Am. But McDougall presents as a jilted woman once in love, Daniels is flat out a smarter woman who knew then, and knows now, what was up, then and now, and just isn’t going to stand for the rank hypocrisy and lying by Trump and his goons like Michael Cohen.

The rushed out bios linked above largely track each other, but to my eye, the New York Times is the best:

Those who know her well have registered the moment differently. Ms. Clifford has subsisted amid the seamier elements of a business often rife with exploitation and unruly fare; more than a few of her film titles are unprintable. But for most of her professional life, Ms. Clifford has been a woman in control of her own narrative in a field where that can be uncommon. With an instinct for self-promotion, she evolved from “kindergarten circuit” stripper to star actress and director, and occasional mainstream success, by her late 20s. Why would a piece of paper and an executive legal team set her back?
“She was a very serious businesswoman and a filmmaker and had taken the reins of her career,” said Judd Apatow, who directed her cameos in the R-rated comedies “Knocked Up” and “The 40-Year-Old Virgin.” “She is not someone to be underestimated.”
She has a daughter, a third husband and an expensive hobby: equestrian shows. “She blends right in,” said Packy McGaughan, a trainer on the competition circuit.
“Just as these misguided arbiters of the mainstream view an adult entertainment star as an anathema to the political process,” she said, when she eventually decided against a bid, “so too do they view the dishwasher, the cashier or the bus driver.”

This woman is real. Please go read at least the NY Times story, if not the others linked. She is everything you think she is, and far, far, more. And she has no fear. Not of her career, and not of Trump. That has to terrify Trump.

Here is the other thing that is different: Stormy Daniels has Michael Avenatti as her lawyer. Never met or talked to Avenatti before, but I have heard of him in cases (and from auto racing things), and from friends, for several years. He is good.

After three years at O’Melveny, he joined Greene Broillet & Wheeler, a Los Angeles boutique litigation firm. While there, Michael spearheaded many high-profile cases, including a $10 million defamation case against Paris Hilton; a successful idea theft lawsuit involving the reality show The Apprentice and its producer, Mark Burnett, as well as Donald Trump; and a large corporate multi-national embezzlement case involving in excess of $42,000,000.

In 2007, Michael formed the law firm Eagan Avenatti, LLP (fka Eagan O’Malley & Avenatti, LLP), with offices in Newport Beach, Los Angeles and San Francisco. Since co-founding the firm, Michael has been responsible for securing a number of large verdicts and settlements as lead counsel, including an April 2017 $454 Million verdict after a jury trial in Federal Court in Los Angeles in a fraud case against Kimberly-Clark (NYSE: KMB) and Halyard Health (NYSE: HYH) that was featured on 60 Minutes (won every jury question as to every defendant); a $80.5 million class action settlement against Service Corporation International (NYSE: SCI) in another case featured on 60 Minutes and in the international press (settlement reached in the middle of trial); a $41 million jury verdict after a nearly five-week trial in New Jersey; a $39 million settlement in a case involving the alleged theft of trade secrets; and a $13 million plus verdict after a six week jury trial in Palm Beach, Florida (won every jury question as to every defendant). In 2015, Michael prevailed against the National Football League after a two-week jury trial in Federal District Court in Dallas, Texas after obtaining a court order requiring Jerry Jones to attend trial and be cross-examined.

I had heard of him before, but really first watched Avenatti when he took on the National Football League and Jerry Jones. Because of some sports law friends, some of whom were closer to that story, I paid attention. Avenatti is seriously that good, and he has the extra bonus of knowing how to be a good trial lawyer AND play the PR game, personally, well. There are not many such lawyers, and ones tending to the PR more than the law are routinely panned mercilessly here at this blog. For good reason.

If you don’t have a winning strategy with the press, don’t talk to the press. Even if you think you do, think twice and thrice before doing so. Or, by my book, just don’t do it. But Avenatti has a really special combination of savvy, and has proven it long before Stormy Daniels.

Nobody knows how it all ends up, and playing the press is a risky game even for those genuinely good at it. But, so far, Avenatti and Stormy have played Trump and the press like a Stradivarius.

And, if as Trump is reportedly contemplating, Trump decides to get personally aggressive, watch out. He may well have met his match with Ms. Daniels and Michael Avenatti. By my guess, they are almost making bank Trump will try that ill advised tact. Let it be. Please, let it be.

64 replies
  1. Bob Conyers says:

    I think it’s telling how quickly the Trump team brought Charles Harder into the mix. That is showing a level of nervousness that they can’t seem to muster against even Mueller. Maybe they don’t think they have the firewall of 37 senators that they have with Russia.

  2. Tetrode says:

    “(won every jury question as to every defendant)”

    Please to be defining this statement for those of us who are not lawyerly?

  3. Anne says:

    Respectfully EW – I’m not spending 5 minutes on this pathetic soap opera. I did however, spend yesterday at our March for Our Lives, then watched the live stream from DC, and then watched all 4 hours of it again today. You want to see power, poise, and smarts, take a good at what those kids did while their president was in mar-a-lago, especially the 6 minutes and 20 seconds of silence.

    • bmaz says:

      Hi there, I wrote this, not Marcy. And you can take your opprobrium out on me. By the way, I also watched most all of the DC feed yesterday on CSPAN and stopped by the local effort here. You act like both things can’t be interesting. I apologize that not everything that interests me, interests you. And, frankly, due to Avenatti, I find this matter absolutely fascinating.

      • Desider says:

        Specifically, I’m concerned about power that only works in groups, be it MillionWomanMarch, #MeToo, #MarchForOurLives, et al – we’ve seen how long it takes these groups to get rolling (and how many like #OWS & #BLM didn’t qute take off).
        So I’m quite interested in how a strong woman (+ excellent lawyer) takes on the powers that be. Because most confrontations are solo, never reach critical mass. Putting on the popcorn.
        [am excited about some inclusive ideas like #wedinetogether to bring the outcasts to the table & Alyssa Milano’s work – just am skeptical that these socially nice groups will become the norm vs. the nastier Heathers that always seem to rule. will be happy to be proven wrong]

  4. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Trump’s NYC intimidation works when you can outresource your opponent.  Trump no longer has that advantage, but he will use the same tactics, because he doesn’t read and he never learns.  The tide is against him.  If Daniels needs resources, she’ll get them.  Like the Krell’s machine, she will be able to draw on whatever juice she needs, because she’s fighting a woman hater abuser shitty president, who breaks whatever he touches, including the USA.

    Another point is that Ms. Clifford has been on the other side of the camera for some 78 films.  She knows more about studio work than Don the apprentice.  She’s probably really good with a camera.  I imagine she keeps good records, too.

    • rickd says:

      The other reason that this is different for Trump is that he can’t embarrass her with bullying tactics. She has no public image to uphold and nothing to lose.

  5. Avattoir says:

    Also doesn’t hurt that he worked for some time with Daniel Petrocelli, who, AOT, was in the joint regulatory prosecutions against Trump University (technically on the Trump U side, but actually acting for insured interests put in jeopardy by the scheme). So it’s not like he lacks useful input into how Trump acts as a litigant.

    • greengiant says:

      OT:  Thanks for your previous comments on prosecutions with agendas.   DOJ IG on suing Apple to crack iphones.

  6. TheraP says:

    Thank you for publishing this!

    We are at a crucial time in our history. A perilous time. And emerging from the darkness we find figures we would never have expected – taking on a dreadful, sociopathic, sadistic phony who has conned all too many. But not a wronged porn star. Nor teen survivors of a mass shooting. And not certain conservative writers, who have turned out to be some of our best Trump critics. (I’m thinking especially of Jennifer Rubin in the WaPo.) Not to leave out leftists writing tirelessly here and elsewhere, of course. (But this we expected.)

    But right from the get-go it was so clear that Stormy picked a good name for herself. And Dumpster Don picked the wrong woman to “wrong”! She is articulate where he is loony. She sticks to facts, while he drifts in delusions. She is hard-working, has worked her way up and maintains her dignity, while Trump is lazy, ignorant and seems to have failed upward to the point of ridicule.

    What has been amazing is to see this woman rise above the denigrating remarks and trollish nastiness of some – to a place of respect and admiration by so many of us. She rises. Trump sinks. She sparkles. He stinks. She has class. He is white trash.

    I’m counting on the Parkland kids to carry us across the finish line. Because they’re young and they have stamina and years ahead of them. But what a weekend! What a way to outclass the shabbiness of this sorry ‘resident’ and his slobbering sycophants: theirs is the porn.

    The final straw must be that Stormy Daniels can get a top notch lawyer, so skilled in using the media to their advantage, while Trump can hardly bring on the third string of legal hires. What a contrast!

    • posaune says:

      Comments on Stormy’s go-fund-me (crowd are quite telling:   thousands of little donations ($10, $20, $25), strong sentiments, and the occasional extraordinary comment: (“I’m a 75-year old retired teacher from Wisconsin, lifelong Lutheran, and in a thousand years couldn’t have imagined myself supporting a porn star, but here we are: you go get him, honey.”) and a number of Trump voters now disgusted.   It’s heartening to see folks recognize the strength and commitment of Stormy Daniels.

      And the best part: Stormy appears to enjoy this!  She has to turn those right-wing religious Trump-ers on their heads.

  7. Trip says:

    I’m in! If for nothing else than creating a spectacular ratings event. We all know how that drives some people nuts.



  8. Erniesfo says:

    Two comments on your piece: 1) I agree, Stormy Daniels is no bimbo and never was. I have read many pieces about her, including the ones you cite, and have watched her in interviews and on Kimmel e.g.. She comes off as bright, informed and funny. She actually strikes me as someone I would be genuinely interested to talk with about any number of things. That surprised me; 2) I am familiar with Avenatti. You’re correct again: Yes, he is THAT good.

    So people, this should be fun!

    • pseudonymous in nc says:

      Sharper than McDougal, who seemed to think she was going to be fourthwife.  Still, both she and Ms Clifford were stitched up by Keith Davidson in cahoots with Cohen, and there’s a lot more where that came from.

      (This is partly why I don’t think Cohen was having furtive meetings in middle Europe during the summer of 2016, but I do want to know what he was up to in London in October.)

  9. BroD says:

    There’s a delicious irony that, while we (& Trump) have looked to Mueller as his significant adversary, it may be Clifford & Avenatti who do him in.

  10. Bay State Librul says:

    A by product of the 60 Minutes show for me — I watched the story of the Greek phenom from the Milwaukee Bucks.

    • jharp says:

      “A by product of the 60 Minutes show for me — I watched the story of the Greek phenom from the Milwaukee Bucks.”

      Same thing happened to me. Haven’t watched 60 Minutes 6 times in the last 20 years.

      I too watched the Greek phenom story and it was terrific.

  11. Avattoir says:

    Most of us, I expect, would retain vivid recall of, having just been ass-spanked by a porn queen wielding a mag with our face on the cover, telling her, ‘You remind me of my daughter’.
    Why, I doubt even Lord Hardon Colluder would provide the classic Gonzales / Sessions response to such a question.

  12. Kim Kaufman says:

    I rarely watch TV but decided to watch this thing tonight. I found Avenatti far more interesting than Stormy. I also watched the “extra” interview on the website which was also interesting. Because I live in LA, I have run into women working in the sex industry. I’ve found them to be generally very together women, not unlike how Stormy presents.

    I don’t understand what their end game is, though. Is it only to have the NDA declared null and void so Stormy can make some money with her story? How much more play does her story have??? Basically, she had sex with him once, he called her now and again and tried to get her a gig on The Apprentice but dropped it when the network wouldn’t go for it. End of story. Who cares if there are pictures? Everyone knows Trump is a lying creep. Some care, some don’t and I don’t think any of this is going to change one poll or one vote for him or against him.

    Was Avenatti aware that Cohen was breaking campaign finance laws? Is that just an added bonus of causing harm to Cohen/Trump? And who will do something about that? What happens next?

  13. Trip says:

    Disappointing element of the show:

    Avenatti said on TV (not sure if on CNN or MSNBC) that Daniels was threatened, and that he had proof, which would be shown on 60 Minutes. Perhaps I misunderstood the type of threat. In the interview, she mentioned a random goon threatening that, (paraphrased), it would be a shame if her daughter lost her mother (in the parking lot), if she spoke about the Trump thing. She has never identified him, never reported the incident, so the direct connection to Trump is tenuous at best. It’s possible that this happened, and it probably did, but on the other hand, there certainly wasn’t proof.

    She did seem intelligent. She was also honest about the Faustian bargain (what she called a business deal) of having sex with Trump for the potential of work on the Apprentice. She wasn’t attracted to him and only had sex with him because the circumstances sort of obligated her to it (also paraphrased).

    Trump is an obvious narcissist and hedonist, so this is not surprising. Cooper asked that if she took the money, then didn’t she agree to the contract? Which was a good question. Avenatti came across a bit more squirrelly in this response, with again, the contract not being activated for lack of Trump’s signature. Shouldn’t the pay-out be have been returned, or be returned now, in that circumstance?

    It’s ridiculous to think this one night stand didn’t happen. Why would Cohen insist on an NDA, protecting Trump (who is like family), if Trump never did anything? Cohen never asserted that this deal was one between himself and Daniels, and shielding publicity about some activity between those two. Since the Trump Cult excuses behavior outside the realm of normal politics, this episode will mean a big, “So what?”. More than anything, it puts Cohen’s actions in the crosshairs. But no one is investigating that (that we know of).

    • bmaz says:

      Yeah, Avenatti oversold and under delivered. In fairness, there was apparently an hour and a half of material CBS left on the cutting room floor, but what was shown is underwhelming a little. She does seem credible, both as to the act and the threat. Not sure threats will get her out of the NDA, as you note, but there does seem to be a real issue with her original attorney conspiring with Cohen behind her back. We’ll see, but Avenatti’s case and strategy took a big hit last night by my eye.

      • Peterr says:

        I disagree.

        I think the media and the public was reading a lot more into Avenatti than it should have. The tweet with the disc wasn’t a teaser for 60 Minutes (“Just wait and see what we show you on Sunday”) but a well-placed shot aimed at one person: Donald Trump. The hashtag #pleasedenyit is clear: “Donald, I dare you . . .”

        Michael spearheaded many high-profile cases, including . . . a successful idea theft lawsuit involving the reality show The Apprentice and its producer, Mark Burnett, as well as Donald Trump;

        I didn’t know about Avenatti’s prior history with Trump as you note in the post, but that only adds to my conviction that the tweet was part of a legal strategy, not a PR move. “I’ve beaten you before, and if you think you can bluff your way out of this, let me strongly urge you to reconsider.”

        My WAG about coming attractions on this case: sitting on Avenatti’s phone is a yet-to-be-sent tweet, waiting to tweak Trump about beating Trump in the Apprentice case. “You’re a #Loser, Donald [with a link to a report about the Apprentice case decision]. Do you really want to be a #TwoTimeLoser? #MakeMyDay” Sent at just the right moment, it will sent Trump out of control.

        What Avenatti did with his tweet was to try to get inside Trump’s head. Trump’s natural inclination is to hit back, hard and fast, and Avenatti knows that. Just as Trump thinks he’s smarter than the generals and smarter than the politicians, he thinks he’s smarter than his lawyers, and Avenatti would love nothing more than to have Trump disregard all the legal folks who are telling him “DON’T TWEET ABOUT THIS!!!” If Trump goes after Daniels, he’s throwing his legal team into disarray and blowing a dozen potential avenues of pursuing the case. If Trump holds back, it makes him irritable, angry, and petulant, which is not the mindset an attorney likes their client to be in. Either way, Avenatti advances his prospects in the legal case.

        For a long time, it’s been said that Vladimir Putin is the only person Trump refuses to criticize. Today, I think you can add Stephanie Clifford/Stormy Daniels to that list. And that’s good news for Michael Avenatti.

        • bmaz says:

          No, Avenatti totally oversold it and what was shown under delivered. Totally. Pure and simple. Sometimes things are just what they appear, and this one, while not a total dud, fell noticeably flat both as to the delivered content and apparent strategy. We’ll see about the future, 60 Minutes is in the book with a meh.

        • Kim Kaufman says:

          For CBS it was probably a huge ratings win. Apparently Cooper has done an interview with the other girl which will air soon.

          Interesting that bmaz said above that Stormy’s original lawyer was working with Cohen and adverse to Stormy’s interests. I haven’t seen that anywhere but makes sense as to ability to cancel NDA.

          I saw earlier on Twitter, fwiw, that something left on cutting room floor was that while having sex with Trump she was fantasizing about doing it with Obama.

  14. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Donald Trump seems to have a need to compare his sexual partners with his daughter.  Incestuous thoughts spring to mind.  But I think something else is afoot.  Ivanka is not his daughter, she is Pygmalion’s statue: the ideal, tall, smart, beautiful, perfect Trump.  And the Don is merely following Dick Cheney’s oft-quoted advice.

    • Trip says:

      Couldn’t agree more, @earl. I recall seeing a photo of Ivanka and Donald side by side . If you reduced the age discrepancy and added or deleted make-up and hair, it was uncanny how much they resembled one another (plus or minus a little plastic surgery). I came to the conclusion, at that point, that Trump was deeply enamored with himself and his own reflection, much in the vein of Narcissus.  “Go F yourself” would not be an insult to Trump, it’s his deepest subconscious desire.

  15. sand says:

    Could Cohen have been trolling Trump by picking the name David Dennison? Very similar to Kenai Chrysler Center, Inc. v. (David) Denison, 167 P.3d 1240 (Alaska 2007). That DD was a developmentally disabled ward of his parents, who went and bought a car. The parents found out and tried to return the car, but the dealer refused to take it back and sued for payment. DD won as he had been adjudged incompetent. Thus, no contract.

    Coincidental parallels in Cohen having to clean up mess after mess for someone he loves but deems incompetent? I wonder what other aliases he’s used for his ward.

  16. Peterr says:

    The big thing getting missed from the interview played last night in this morning’s media discussions, IMHO, are the attempts by Trump to continue the sexual relationship with Daniels. “We were great in bed together – let’s do that again . . . and I’m still working on NBC to get you on The Apprentice.” He kept pushing, she kept putting him off, and NBC kept blocking it, until it finally died. I strongly suspect there are messages, emails, and records of phone calls that will back this up, which are likely on that disc that was teased and were behind the #pleasedenyit hashtag.

    If Anderson Cooper asked about it, that got left on the cutting room floor, which would have been odd. I could see Avenatti using them as a negotiation item with CBS to set up the interview: “Here’s our offer: we’ve got these documents to back up significant elements of her story, and we’ll show them to you to prove that she’s not making this up. But as a legal matter, we don’t want to lay them out before Trump and his lawyers, so you can’t use them or refer to them in the interview. Don’t like it? OK. I’m sure we can find one of your competitors who will agree to those terms.”

  17. Trip says:

    This is perplexing.

    From Melania’s spokesperson:

    While I know the media is enjoying speculation & salacious gossip, Id like to remind people there’s a minor child who’s name should be kept out of news stories when at all possible.
    — Stephanie Grisham (@StephGrisham45) March 26, 2018

    From the transcript:
    Anderson Cooper: Melania Trump had recently given birth to– to a son, just a few months before. Did that– did he mention his wife or child at all in this?
    Stormy Daniels: I asked. And he brushed it aside, said, “Oh yeah, yeah, you know, don’t worry about that. We don’t even– we have separate rooms and stuff.”

    No minor’s name was uttered in the interview, including Daniel’s child’s.

  18. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Question for bmaz, what are the odds that Keith Davidson keeps his license to practice? He seems to have worked both sides of the street in both the Clifford and McDougal negotiations, which seem to have occurred at roughly the same time.

    • bmaz says:

      I dunno, not enough facts to opine on that. Have some serious questions about his representation though, as alluded to earlier,both as to the initial agreement and any participation in the dummied up letters after the fact. And if he thought the initial story was worthy of a settlement, how could he represent her lying about it later? There are some real questions as to Mr. Davidson and his work and relationship with Cohen.

      • chum'sfriend says:

        Evidently, Keith Davidson publicly stated that he would gladly speak out about what went down in the deal if Stormy would just release him from his attorney client confidentiality commitment.  Avenatti responded that maybe Davidson would be better off putting his energy into attending a class on ethics.

        Avenatti refuses to discuss the issues in the Keith Davidson situation during interviews.  If Avenatti did openly talk about Davidson’s conflicts of interest, that could potentially free Davidson to speak out publicly in order to defend himself.  I assume Avenatti has decided it’s currently not in his client’s best interests to provide Davidson this opportunity.

        • bmaz says:

          Excellent points. And I don’t have any smart responses. Avenatti is a very smart and good lawyer, and at the trial court level. Time will tell whether his aggressive tact got the better of him, but it is a real question at the moment.

          By the same token, that kind of statement applies geometrically for Michael Cohen, other than the smart trial lawyer thing. Both sides of this question are, combined, why it will not fade into the sunset. The common denominator is Trump and all these things he has done.

  19. bmaz says:

    Also, no one commented on the lovely Ella Fitzgerald track? Not to mention Joe Pass, one of the unsung true maestros of jazz guitar over many decades.

    Man, the denizens here used to be far more attuned to music.

    • Trip says:

      Sorry, bmaz, I actually thought about commenting on it yesterday and then forgot to give a nod to it. Ella was a powerhouse. I got rid of a lot of CDs from the CD era, but not Ella Fitzgerald and a couple of other classic geniuses. Brainfart.

      • bmaz says:

        It is funny, I still have many CD’s. Not sure how many, maybe 100-200. Most in a box out in the garage rotting. Maybe 25 that I still keep around for the rare long distance car travel where there is no real radio (I don’t have Sirius). I never divested of my vinyl collection, and have kept adding to it. That is what I play at home. On the turntable. Even some old jazz.

        • posaune says:

          Love vinyl!  hundreds of albums in our basement (oldies):  Stan Kenton, Lena Horne, Count Basie, Buddy Rich, Urbie Green, Doc Severinson.   I was working in NYC in 1972 (pit tbn player for Some Like it Hot) when the Tonight show moved to California.  It was so traumatic for NY musicians to lose Doc.   What a loss to the city!   Incredible musician.

    • Jerome Steele says:

      I caught the Ella and Joe Pass. Though I’m more of a Jim Hall and Wes Montgomery man myself. Love jazz, it is my life’s true obsession.

        • matt says:

          Eh? you started a Jazz conversation…  and told us your favorites… as did Trip, Posaune, and Jerome.

  20. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Needless to say, if the sitting president this crisis involved were named Barack Obama, the right would be screaming for his immediate imprisonment, sterilization and impeachment – in that order. Racist dog whistle epithets would invoke centuries of southern white fears of cuckolding, rebellion, poverty and disenfranchisement.

    When it’s Germanic he-man Don Trump, the right pleads that boys will be boys and that complaining women must be, by definition, greedy harlots out for money and trophies. This is about more than Don Trump’s possible crimes, and his certain infidelities and sexual intrigues.

    As they say, Trump personally marked the trail of his sex life not with Hansel and Gretel’s bread crumbs, but with loaves of bread and sandwich wrappers from McDonald’s. If the Don suddenly got cold feet as he approached the White House, if he suddenly became obsessed with protecting his unprotected secrets, how easy would it have been for an experienced and well-funded intelligence service – from any country – to manipulate him?

    • posaune says:

      Yeah, gotta wonder how many NDAs he forced on others over the decades! I’ll bet thousands — there have to be so many cut-and-paste jobs, the typos themselves would make a compelling Rorschach.

    • errant aesthete says:

      Love how you turned the phrase from H&G’s “bread crumbs” to “loaves of bread and sandwich wrappers from McDonalds.”

  21. Kim Kaufman says:

    Heard on the radio today: Petrocelli is representing ATT/Time Warner v DOJ. He made opening arguments.

  22. Gamboler says:

    Can someone suggest a likely financial arrangement between Stormy and Avenatti? I’m assuming that:

    a) Stormy is smart enough to avoid the financial exposure of violating her agreement with Cohen/Dennison at $1 million a pop;

    b) Avenatti, being wealthy from his past trial wins and enjoying cut-rate legal resources, can afford to cover any litigation costs and take the hit from a worst-case scenario such as a $20 million judgment;

    and c) his likely exposure is far lower than $20 million and well worth the risk for the huge amounts of publicity he’s getting.

    So is Avenatti basically working for Stormy pro bono (or ‘pro boner’)?

  23. Rugger9 says:

    Maybe wishful thinking, but I’d like to know if this line is right about the defamation claim. I was also in agreement about the idea that if he just let this go it would have been “Access Hollywood” all over again (e.g. no one important to him cared). However, there is a reason he pushes back so hard on this one (and Zervos’ suit as well) instead of pretending he’s just “one of the guys”. What was different here with Daniels?

    Also, the question of who is paying for the Kaiser’s legal fees about a private(s) matter (tsk, tsk, tsk) seems to be reopened. Laurence Tribe noticed it.

    • Michael says:

      […] who is paying for the Kaiser’s legal fees[…]

      I call you attention to Confabulist in Chief’s “campaign rallies”.

      One fourth of the way into his term, and he’s already reloading the coffers with other people’s money. Because he doesn’t pay for anything. He boasts that he can probably make money on the presidency. Believe it.

      • Rugger9 says:

        Don’t forget the Mar-A-Lago sessions.  However, those political contributions aren’t available for defending the Daniels and Zervos suits IIRC, since that is not a “campaign” activity.  However, I may be wrong since IANAL.

  24. Trip says:


    WTF? What is the legality or standard of BAR ethics in re lawyers making agreements without the knowledge of a client, and paying out of pocket? What about lying, if the attorney LIES that the client did not know? And what if the client NEVER knew? Then does that remove attorney/client privilege, since one would assume there was no privilege since the client was never informed of the action, opening up direct testimony of Cohen?

    Obviously I’m not a lawyer, so if these are stupid questions, please be a little forgiving.

    Trump’s attorney claiming ‘not to know’ if president is party to hush agreement

    Avenatti said that he recently met with Trump’s attorney, who claimed he did not know if the president was party to the non-disclosure agreement with Clifford.

    Also, how can a lawyer NOT KNOW if the agreement made BY HIM was done without knowing who the parties involved are?


    • Trip says:

      I phrased that last question oddly. How can you make a contract without knowing which people are a party to it and constrained by it? Are they making an incompetence argument? And if so, doesn’t it make the entire contract null and void?

  25. Rugger9 says:

    Bar ethics are a joke unless the Bar itself is under scrutiny. I was involved in a case where a lawyer admitted in a letter over his signature to conspiring to deprive a servicemember legal notice under SCRA, in addition to two documented court record examples of perjury and the Bar refused to do anything because it wasn’t referred to them by a court. The JAG currently investigating this may push them to act, however, but I’m not holding my breath.

    In this case however, I suspect that if this continues for another several months (now likely with the amended complaint for defamation with depositions to follow) and the previous lawyer is kept in the picture as conniving (not a legal term) with Cohen to deprive Stormy her rights as a client then the Bar will be moved to act against the earlier attorney’s license (such as a suspension) due to the publicity. I do not doubt that Avenatti will push the connivance line to tear up any NDA that does exist in the legal sense.

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