Avenatti: Wall Street Journal ‘Sat On’ Stormy Story In 2016

NEW YORK CITY—The lawyer for Stormy Daniels, Michael Avenatti, fired back at The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday, accusing the paper of deliberately suppressing the story of Daniels’ sexual encounter with Donald Trump and the $130,000 hush money payoff from Trump’s “fixer” Michael Cohen.

Avenatti’s broadside, which he supported by posting an email from Daniels’ then-lawyer Keith Davidson to the Journal, came in response to a story published by The Wall Street Journal this morning, which was then re-run by Fox News, accusing Avenatti of having “slowed” the work of federal prosecutors who are conducting a criminal investigation of Cohen.

“In public, Michael Avenatti, [Daniels’] current attorney, has been among the most vocal critics of Michael Cohen, the lawyer who paid her $130,000 in October 2016 to sign a nondisclosure agreement about an alleged 2006 sexual encounter with Trump,” The Journal reported. “But behind the scenes, Avenatti has slowed prosecutors’ efforts to discuss the nondisclosure agreement with Ms. Clifford’s former lawyer, these people say. Avenatti also demanded to review documents investigators subpoenaed from Clifford’s former manager, they said.”

Avenatti quickly denied the story on his Twitter account, writing, “Any media report citing ‘unnamed sources’ (and not a single document) suggesting we are delaying the investigation into Mr. Cohen and DJT is completely false and without basis. We have already waived the privilege as to a host of docs and communications to ensure justice is done.”

But Avenatti was not finished. He then published an email exchange between Davidson and the Journal which, according to Avenatti, showed that the Journal was in possession of the information on Daniels as of November 2, 2016—two days before the presidential election—at the latest, but did not publish the story. That email exchange may be read online at this link

The Journal quickly denied Avenatti’s charge, calling his claim “ false and outrageous.”

“In fact, the Journal broke the news of the $130k payout to her, arranged by Michael Cohen,” Journal spokesperson Steve Severinghaus told the online publication Business Insider.

Journal reporter Michael Rothfeld also denied the accusation in a pair of Twitter messages to Avenatti.

“We sat on nothing,” Rothfeld wrote. “On 11/4/16 WSJ broke the news that Davidson made a $150k deal for Karen McDougal and repped Stormy Daniels. We also broke the news on 1/12/18 of Michael Cohen’s $130k payment to Stormy Daniels as soon as we confirmed it.  Your statement is false.”

But Avenatti was not satisfied with the denials.

“You printed the story 14 MONTHS after you had it in November 2016 as evidenced by the docs I posted,” Avenatti wrote on his own Twitter feed.  “If you have contrary docs, you should provide them. The docs I provided are clear as day.”

He also questioned the Journal’s use of Davidson as a “source” after Davidson, in the letter linked above, told the Journal that he did not represent “anyone adverse” to Donald Trump—at a time when he represented both Daniels and Playboy centerfold model Karen McDougal, who also received a hush money payoff to keep quiet about a sexual relationship with Trump.

The email exchange revealed by Avenatti between Davidson and The Wall Street Journal was forwarded by Davidson to Cohen, which according to Avenatti proved that Davidson and Cohen had “conspired” in 2016, in arranging the payoff to Daniels.

Photo via Showtime ‘The Circus’ Screen Capture

Originally published at: https://avn.com/business/articles/legal/avenatti-wall-street-journal-sat-on-stormy-story-during-2016-778495.html

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