Stormy Daniels was set to meet with federal investigators on Monday, to give information in the Southern District of New York criminal probe into Michael Cohen — Donald Trump’s longtime personal lawyer and “fixer” — CNN reported on Sunday. But once the press learned about the scheduled Daniels meeting, the feds called the whole thing off, according to Daniels’ attorney, Michael Avenatti.
Daniels has filed multiple lawsuits against Cohen and Trump, stemming from the $130,000 payoff she received from Cohen to buy her silence over her alleged 2006 sexual encounter with Trump. When feds executed search warrants on Cohen in April, they seized numerous documents relating to the Daniels payoff and are reportedly investigating the hush money deal as part if their criminal probe into Cohen’s business activities.
The Monday meeting was supposed to be a prep session for Daniels’ upcoming grand jury testimony in the Cohen investigation, according to the CNN report, which did not say if or when that testimony would now be scheduled. Daniels has already provided the investigators with information about the payment and has been in “regular contact” with them, the report said.
The feds said on Monday morning that they called off the meeting because Avenatti leaked word of it to the press, according to an Associated Press report, an accusation which Avenatti denied as “patently false.”
But late on Sunday, Avenatti posted to his Twitter account saying that the feds had backed out of the New York meeting due to fears of publicity — even though the meeting had been on the books for “weeks.”
“If they consider this a big deal, how will they ever bring any serious criminal charges against Cohen et al., let alone handle a trial, in such a high profile matter?” Avenatti wrote. “We have bent over backwards to accommodate them. This is unheard of. We remain willing to cooperate but something isn’t right.”
Avenatti later posted an email he said that he sent in reply to the cancellation, which came in a phone call from the United States Attorney’s office in the SDNY. In the email, which may be read in full at this link, an annoyed Avenatti says that preparation and travel expenses for the nox-nixed meeting have exceeded $20,000. He calls the cancellation “ridiculous” and adds that “the fact that cameras may be present outside your office is of no moment.”
In the email addressed to assistant U.S. Attorney Nicolas Roos, Avenatti offers to set up an alternative location for the meeting — even “a conference room at my hotel.” But as of Monday morning there was not word on whether the feds had accepted the offer to meet somewhere else.
“They don’t appear to have the stomach for a case of this magnitude unfortunately,” Avenatti said on his Twitter account.
But Roos told the AP that he was worried about Avenatti leaking details of the meeting to the media.
“Confidentiality is critical to the diligence, fairness, and integrity of this, and indeed all, investigations conducted by this Office,” Roos told the AP in a written statement. “This is not our preferred approach, and a step we are only rarely f****d to take, but we are left with no choice.”
Cohen is in legal trouble on numerous fronts. Daniels’ case against him and Trump, in which she seeks to invalidate the “hush” agreement over her sexual encounter with Trump, is set to resume on July 23 after a 90 day delay to accommodate the New York investigation into Cohen. And in addition to the criminal probe, Russia investigation Special Counsel Robert Mueller is also looking into any role Cohen played in coordinating between Russia and the Trump campaign during the 2016 presidential election campaign.
Photo via Showtime The Circus Screen Capture
Originally published at: https://avn.com/business/articles/legal/avenatti-camera-shy-feds-backed-out-of-stormy-daniels-meeting-783080.htmlTags: Michael French Stormy Daniels