The day after Stormy Daniels’ high-profile lawyer Michael Avenatti announced that he will now represent three additional women who, he says, were paid off by associates of Donald Trump—including one who said she was pregnant at the time—a judge heard a request by Trump’s former personal lawyer and “fixer” Michael Cohen to shut Avenatti up.
“As this Court has probably already surmised, Mr. Avenatti’s actions are mainly driven by his seemingly unquenchable thirst for publicity,” Cohen and his attorney Brent Blakely asserted in their motion to gag Avenatti. Cohen filed the motion in the currently delayed lawsuit against him and Trump by Daniels.
Federal Judge S. James Otero of the Central District of California in Los Angeles had not yet issued a ruling on the gag order request by early Friday afternoon. According to reporting from inside the courtroom by Nathan Solis of Courthouse News Service, Otero appeared unlikely to grant Cohen’s request.
“[Otero] leaned pretty heavy that he wasn’t going to issue a gag order against Avenatti, because that would chill First Amendment rights,” Solis reported via Twitter. “He recognized the irony of a request for a gag order from Cohen. Earlier this week Cohen shared an audio recording with CNN of a conversation Cohen and Trump had about a possible payment to buy the rights of a story for another alleged affair.”
Solis was referencing the recording released by another Cohen lawyer, Lanny Davis, earlier in the week—a recording on which Trump can be heard instructing Cohen to pay off former Playboy Playmate Karen McDougal “with cash.”
As AVN.com reported, McDougal in April settled a lawsuit against Trump over a payoff she received from The National Enquirer, a tabloid newspaper whose owner is closely aligned with Trump.
“We applaud Judge Otero for clearly understanding the ramifications of the First Amendment in these proceedings,” Avenatti said outside the federal courthouse in downtown Los Angeles. “ We are confident based on his statements that the efforts by the President of the United States and Michael Cohen to silence me and prevent me from presenting the truth and evidence to the American people, that those efforts are going to fail.”
Blakely, in a statement read aloud by the judge, compared Avenatti to a ”small-town carnival magician [who] attempts to somehow justify his conduct by pulling the First Amendment out of his tiny bag of tricks.”
But Otero, according to Solis’s account, appeared to brush aside that characterization, saying that the First Amendment was not a “trick,” but that “this is serious business.”
Avenatti also asked that if the judge were to grant the gag order, that a similar order be placed on Trump and his attorney Rudy Giuliani, noting that Giuliani had recently, in a nationally televised interview, described Cohen as “a pathological liar.”
“If he is hurting Cohen’s chance for a fair trial by his comments to the media, so are Trump and Giuliani, argued Avenatti,” Solis wrote.
The evening prior to the Friday morning hearing, Avenatti spoke on a human rights panel in West Hollywood, California, and announced his three new clients.
“There are three additional female clients of mine that have not been disclosed that were paid hush money prior to the 2016 election, whether it be from Michael Cohen on behalf of the president, an entity that Michael Cohen formed, or AMI,” Avenatti said, according to Los Angeles TV station KABC.
AMI, or American Media Inc., is the parent company of The National Enquirer.
Avenatti added that one of his new clients claimed to be pregnant at the time of the payoff, but he gave no further details, and did not specify whether the women were paid hush money as a result of sexual encounters with Trump.
But Avenatti added, “Last time I checked, they weren’t just handing out checks to anyone whether they had a relationship or not.”
At the event, Avenatti again declared his intention to run for president in 2020—but only if “I do not get a sense that the Democratic Party has the right street fighter and the right person to go up against Donald Trump,” he said, according to KABC.
In that eventuality, Avenatti said, “I will absolutely run and I will defeat him—period.”
Image via YouTube Live News Screen Capture
Originally published at: https://avn.com/business/articles/legal/avenatti-fights-gag-order-says-3-more-women-paid-by-trump-pals-789720.htmlTags: Michael French Stormy Daniels