Stormy Daniels’s lawyer Michael Avenatti on Tuesday morning responded to a report that he has “carved a Trumpian path” that may put his ability to represent his client in jeopardy by saying that critics are simply having a tough time stomaching the “huge amount of success” he’s had.
“Any suggestion that this may put Stormy Daniels at risk is absurd and without merit,” Avenatti said in a phone call to Newsweek. “Ms. Daniels’s case has never been stronger.”
As Avenatti has earned a regular spotlight on television news bashing both Trump and his lawyer and “fixer” Michael Cohen, he’s also drawn comparisons to Trump. Both have no reservations firing attacks at their opponents on air and via Twitter, and some experts told The Washington Post on Monday that such tactics could undercut Avenatti’s ability to represent Daniels, who is suing Trump over a nondisclosure agreement on their alleged affair.
“Some people seem to have a difficult time accepting the huge amount of success that we’ve had over the last eight weeks,” Avenatti said. “They need to get used to it.”
The lawyer for Daniels, whose legal name is Stephanie Clifford, declined to comment on claims he is acting like Trump.
Avenatti has proven to be unlike other attorneys in that his arguments go beyond his client’s complaint, New York University law professor Stephen Gillers, whose expertise is in ethics, told the Post.
“Nothing he has been doing in the last four to six weeks with his multiple television appearances advances the interests of his client in the California action,” Gillers said. “He’s catapulted himself to be the story. There are dangers when a lawyer becomes so publicly vocal.”
One of Avenatti’s boldest moves yet came last week, when he exposed Cohen’s banking transactions, suggesting he took payments from a Russian oligarch, AT&T and a Swiss pharmaceutical company into the same account he used to pay $130,000 to Daniels to stay silent about the alleged affair.
While that was damaging to Trump and Cohen, the latter’s lawyers pointed out that the documents erroneously included a few transactions made by other Michael Cohens, thus spreading information that did not concern Daniels.
Cohen argued that Avenatti, who practices out of California, should no longer be allowed to represent Daniels before a court in New York because he disclosed the private transactions.
— Michael Avenatti (@MichaelAvenatti) May 14, 2018
Also last week, Mark Penn, a pollster and adviser to President Bill Clinton from 1995 to 2000, questioned whether Avenatti’s intention was really to represent Daniels or if he is “just using her as cover to wage a political operation.”
Avenatti called Penn’s piece “utter bullshit.”
On Monday, The Daily Caller reporter Peter Hasson tweeted an email Avenatti sent him that morning warning he would sue the conservative website, him and his colleague Joe Simonson for defamation over a story they published scrutinizing his business deals.
“We will expose your publication for what it truly is. We will also recover significant damages against each of you that participated personally,” Avenatti’s email read. “So if I were you, I would tell Mr. Trump to find someone else to fabricate things about me. If you think I’m kidding, you really don’t know anything about me.”
Avenatti’s threatening tone in the email bore a resemblance to Trump—a point he has declined to comment to Newsweek on.