“He has spoken on my behalf without my approval. He filed a defamation case against Donald Trump against my wishes. He repeatedly refused to tell me how my legal defense fund was being spent.”
Instead, it’s the woman who made Avenatti a household name: Stormy Daniels aka Stephanie Clifford.
You may recall that a court threw out Stormy’s defamation claim against Trump, and granted Trump statutory SLAPP fees and costs subject to determination of amount. We covered it all in Trump asks Court to SLAPP Stormy Daniels with $341,559.50 in legal fees plus sanctions.
At the end of that post, I noted that Avenatti’s own conduct was made an issue in Trump’s papers, and that created a potential conflict. I asked:
That presents a number of problems, not the least of which is that Avenatti arguably has a conflict of interest as to representation.
So will Stormy turn on Avenatti?
If so, she may have to get in line.
Now Stormy has turned.
The Daily Beast reported:
Michael Avenatti sued Donald Trump for defaming Stormy Daniels against her wishes, Daniels told The Daily Beast in a statement on Wednesday.
Avenatti also started a new fundraising site to raise money for her legal defense fund without telling her, Daniels said. She said she is not sure whether or not she will keep Avenatti on as her lawyer.
Here is her full statement, provided to The Daily Beast:
“For months I’ve asked Michael Avenatti to give me accounting information about the fund my supporters so generously donated to for my safety and legal defense. He has repeatedly ignored those requests. Days ago I demanded again, repeatedly, that he tell me how the money was being spent and how much was left. Instead of answering me, without my permission or even my knowledge Michael launched another crowdfunding campaign to raise money on my behalf. I learned about it on Twitter.
“I haven’t decided yet what to do about legal representation moving forward. Michael has been a great advocate in many ways. I’m tremendously grateful to him for aggressively representing me in my fight to regain my voice. But in other ways Michael has not treated me with the respect and deference an attorney should show to a client. He has spoken on my behalf without my approval. He filed a defamation case against Donald Trump against my wishes. He repeatedly refused to tell me how my legal defense fund was being spent. Now he has launched a new crowdfunding campaign using my face and name without my permission and attributing words to me that I never wrote or said. I’m deeply grateful to my supporters and they deserve to know their money is being spent responsibly. I don’t want to hurt Michael, but it’s time to set the record straight. The truth has always been my greatest ally.
“My goal is the same as it has always been—to stand up for myself and take back my voice after being bullied and intimidated by President Trump and his minions. One way or another I’m going to continue in that fight, and I want everyone who has stood by me to know how profoundly grateful I am for their support.”
Fox News reports on Avenatti’s response:
“I am and have always been Stormy’s biggest champion. I have personally sacrificed an enormous amount of money, time and energy toward assisting her because I believe in her. I have always been an open book with Stormy as to all aspects of her cases and she knows that. You need only look back at her numerous prior interviews where she states we talk and communicate multiple times every day about her cases.
The retention agreement Stormy signed back in February provided that she would pay me $100.00 and that any and all other monies raised via a legal fund would go toward my legal fees and costs,” Avenatti went on. “Instead, the vast majority of the money raised has gone toward her security expenses and similar other expenses. The most recent campaign was simply a refresh of the prior campaign, designed to help defray some of Stormy’s expenses.”
Who is right?
This definitely falls into the “laughing my ass off” category.
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