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Stormy lawyer Michael Avenatti withdraws request to appear in Michael Cohen case

Stormy lawyer Michael Avenatti withdraws request to appear in Michael Cohen case

At hearing this morning, Judge expressed concern Avenatti would use appearance in case “to denigrate Mr. Cohen and, I believe, potentially, deprive him of a fair trial by tainting a jury pool”

Things are coming together in the Michael Cohen search warrant case.

As you will recall, Cohen sued to protect potentially privilege records seized from his law office and home. The Court appointed a Special Master to review the records and report to the Court.

The Special Master filed a Report on May 29, 2018 (pdf.) (full embed at bottom of post). Here’s the key summary reflecting the scope of the electronic and physical evidence reviewed so far (emphasis added):

As of today, the Special Master has concluded her review of the May 4th production which comprised 639 hard copy documents totaling 12,543 pages. She has also concluded her review of the contents of the May 8th and 9th productions based upon the 252 total privilege designations provided by the Plaintiff and Intervenors. The 292,006 items from the first two productions that have not been designated privileged or highly personal by the parties were released to the Government on May 23rd. On or before June 4th, the Special Master will provide the Court with a Report and Recommendation with respect to the privilege determinations as to these first two productions.

The Plaintiffs and Intervenors have submitted designations for the electronic contents of three phones from the May 11th production and approximately 1,025,363 items from these phones have not been designated privileged or highly personal by the parties. Subject to final verification by the Special Master, the items that have not been designated will be released to the
Government on May 30th.

The Special Master submitted a $48,000 fee invoice (pdf.)(full embed at bottom of post), to be split equally by Cohen and the government by agreement. That’s at a rate of $670 per hour (which believe it or not, for someone of her experience is not high for big NY law firms).

According to news reports, during the court hearing this morning the government indicated that it is piecing together and will turn over to the Special Master reconstructed documents obtained from a shredder.

Also, according to news reports, there are audio recordings that Cohen maintained, something previously reported long ago. Yet the lawyer for Stephanie Clifford (aka Stormy Daniels), Michael Avenatti, is acting like this is a new revelation.

On the Avenatti front, news reports indicate that during the hearing Cohen’s lawyer’s again accused Avenatti of leaking confidential bank records, and the judge expressed concern that Avenatti’s public posturing could negatively affect a jury trial, should Cohen eventually be charged, if Avenatti were admitted to the case pro hac vice.

Reuters reports:

An attorney for President Donald Trump’s longtime personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, accused porn star Stormy Daniels’ lawyer in federal court on Wednesday of leaking Cohen’s bank records, calling it a “drive-by shooting of my client’s rights.”

In a hearing before U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood in Manhattan, Cohen attorney Stephen Ryan also called the alleged leak by Daniels’ attorney, Michael Avenatti, “reckless,” “malicious” and “intentional.”

Avenatti responded, “We did not do anything improper relating to the release of any information concerning Mr. Cohen.” ….

Wood did not rule on whether Avenatti would have a formal role in the case. But she made clear she would not give him an open platform in her courtroom “where you’re free to denigrate Mr. Cohen and, I believe, potentially, deprive him of a fair trial by tainting a jury pool” if criminal charges were ever brought against Cohen.

In that regard, after weeks of contentious accusations between Cohen’s lawyers, who opposed Avenatti’s motion for admission, and Avenatti’s counter-accusations, Avenatti withdrew his request to enter an appearance.

The ostensible reason given by Avenatti was that the motion of his client to intervene in the case is being held in abeyance, so there is no need for him to appear formally in the case. That seems pretextual, as Cliffords’ motion has been held in abeyance for a long time, yet Avenatti sought to appear in the case. More likely, there’s no upside for Avenatti to appear in the case, since it would put front and center Cohen’s request that the Court force Avenatti to disclose what records he obtained, how he obtained them, and to whom he released them.

Avenatti got a ton of publicity by inserting himself into the Michael Cohen search warrant case, first through having Clifford seek to intervene and then through his pro hac vice application. It kept him in front of the cameras, but if he pressed the application, the Court may have forced him to disclose how he obtained bank records and what he did with them.

By withdrawing the application for admission, Avenatti got out while the getting was good.


Michael Cohen v. USA – Special Master Report May 29, 2018 by Legal Insurrection on Scribd


Michael Cohen v. USA – Special Master Fee and Expenses, May 29, 2018 by Legal Insurrection on Scribd


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So Avenatti withdraws his motion, doesn’t have to say where he got the documents, and can continue poisoning Cohen’s jury pool, almost like that is the real point. But of course that would be vile and baseless speculation.

JusticeDelivered | May 30, 2018 at 3:30 pm

We already know that Stormy operates on may levels in a vile manner, and we also have reason to believe that Michael Avenatti has actively helped his client extort money and then renege on her agreement.

It seems that both of them are bottom feeders.

    YellowGrifterInChief in reply to JusticeDelivered. | May 30, 2018 at 8:40 pm

    Avenatti was not representing Daniels when Cohen offered a payoff to her.

    According to Trump there was no agreement to renege on.

      Bob and Fred each hire a lawyer to cover a contract between them. Afterwards, Fred releases his lawyer, hires another, releases them, and hires a third, who claims the contract is now void because of the lawyer exchange.

      Q: If Fred’s new lawyer tries to use this argument in court, how loud will the judge laugh?

Connivin Caniff | May 30, 2018 at 3:44 pm

Why would a defendant or any other person or party other than the government have to pay a share of the special master’s fees? It was the government that exercised a search warrant and grabbed everything it could, and the government should pay the expense of overreaching, contrary to the other party’s Constitutional rights.

mochajava76 | May 30, 2018 at 3:58 pm

“the government expects to produce ‘the contents of a shredding machine’ to the special master within three weeks”

They make micro cut shredders that render the paper into tiny pieces of confetti. So is Michael Cohen using a strip cut shredder?

    Edward in reply to mochajava76. | May 30, 2018 at 4:09 pm

    Possibly he’s been too cheap to buy a new shredded.

    While on the topic, how does anyone piece together shredded documents without reading them?

      Edward in reply to Edward. | May 30, 2018 at 4:10 pm


      Actually, this is something that Frank Abagnale (of “Catch Me If You Can” fame) used to lecture on frequently.

      The Optical Character Recognition software has gotten so good, and so advanced, that if you feed the strips of paper into a scanner, the software will be able to piece together the document, if you task enough computing power to it.

      It doesn’t matter if the documents are one-sided or two-sided. The software is smart enough that it can detect the shapes, edges, characters, and recognize enough common words between the strips and pages to determine that two individual strips belong next to each other.

      As the amount of shredded paper processed is completed, the process accelerates, because there are less potential “strips” and more potential markers to determine where those strips go (it is an exponential curve). Think of it like doing a giant puzzle. The end pieces go faster, because there are fewer of them to fill in. Now think of it like a 1000 puzzles, each with 18-36 pieces as strips.

      For this exact reason is why all individuals that handle sensitive information are encouraged to purchase a micro-cut cross shredder. Mine reduces the shredded page to 5/64ts by 5/16 particles (security level P-5). I get bags of confetti out of it.

    ConradCA in reply to mochajava76. | May 30, 2018 at 4:46 pm

    Every lawyer should obtain an encrypted records system because of this case. It would prevent the government from seizing all of an attorney’s records.

      Surely you are already aware that the lawyer would be legally obligated to provide the government with the encryption key, the same as if it is a combination safe’s numbers? And the attorney would be subject to unlimited contempt of court penalties for refusing to do so?

      If you can seize the stuff to begin with, there’s no more protection against coughing up an encryption key than for any other person under American jurisdiction.

        tom_swift in reply to JBourque. | May 30, 2018 at 5:35 pm

        If you can seize the stuff to begin with

        But that is the question right there, isn’t it?

        The key to it (sorry) is that yes, the judge can order that the key be turned over, BUT this decision can be appealed, and the key withheld until the appeal is complete. Unencrypted files or paper allow the prosecution to happily romp through the files while all the hubbub is going on, leaking what they want to friendly media regardless of the end decision. Or hold onto copies after being ordered to turn them back, like Wisconsin where the Dem prosecution was trying to frame the Republican governor.

        In addition, EACH client can be segregated within their own encrypted set of files. And yes, the prosecution can claim “We have Bob’s encryption key, but the evil lawyer could have hidden some of Bob’s files under any of the other clients folders” in which case you should have a perfect case for “Yeah, you can hire a special master to sort through the rest of the files, but the state is paying 100% of the cost and I get to have a say in who it is.”

          YellowGrifterInChief in reply to georgfelis. | May 30, 2018 at 9:08 pm

          like Wisconsin where the Dem prosecution was trying to frame the Republican governor

          Seems a rather selective indictment of prosecutors. Based on what I see, it is much more likely that a conservative, publicity seeking, ‘law and order’ prosecutor is going to railroad some poor (probably black) defendant onto death row. Do you give a damn about that?

          In some jurisdictions police and prosecutors are listening into jail conversations between defendants and their attorneys. They are seeking excessive bail to hamper defenses and coerce defendants into taking plea deals. Calling Your Lawyer From Jail? – The New York Times. Do you give a damn about that or are your concerns strictly limited to injustices done to republicans?

          I’m just saying, with an abundance of sympathy for your argument, that at the end of those appeals, the lawyer will have to cough up the encryption key anyway. There’s no legitimate way to avoid the power of a judge ordering that the communications be handed over.

          I have already commented enough on this website about making the handover of attorney-client communications routine. The bridge has been crossed. There is no going back.

regulus arcturus | May 30, 2018 at 4:22 pm

I would think that Avenatti could still be questioned for his role in pushing private financial info into the public domain, which is a crime.

The government raids your place of business and then slaps you with a $24,000.00 bill to ‘share’ the cost of their overreach. Sounds perfectly fair and understandable.

practicalconservative | May 30, 2018 at 4:43 pm

I wonder if “Stormy” shopped her case to Gloria Allred before she settled on Avanetti?

Next, Mueller withdraws from the witch hunts following an embarrassing discovery request.

From the POV of a trial attorney, this move makes good sense.

It removes a controversy from the proceedings, and it costs Clifford nothing. She can…and will…find a local attorney to represent her in the same proceeding.

The judge was right, too.

We’re talking about fair trials. The cheek.

My Conservative Utopia hands me a beer and a raceform. HORSERACING. God. One track minds.