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Politics Trump meets his match: Stormy Daniels' combative lawyer Michael Avenatti

18:20  07 april  2018
18:20  07 april  2018 Source:   latimes.com

Trump's silence on Stormy says a lot. But not about him.

  Trump's silence on Stormy says a lot. But not about him. If there has been a single, unbroken theme spanning President Donald Trump's 14 months in office, it's been his inability to stay quiet, even when silence would seem to serve him best. And yet, for more than two months, Trump has meticulously avoided personally addressing his alleged 2006 affair -- and his lawyer's role in covering it up before the 2016 election -- with adult film actress Stormy Daniels. The streak is not unprecedented. On the advice of attorneys, Trump refrained -- for about a year -- from dropping special counsel Robert Mueller's name into his Twitter current.

Main article: Stormy Daniels –Donald Trump scandal. Stormy Daniels and Michael Avenatti in 2018. In early March 2019 Daniels terminated her arrangement with Avenatti , replacing him with attorney Clark " Trump meets his match : Stormy Daniels ' combative lawyer Michael Avenatti ".

Trump meets his match : Stormy Daniels ' combative lawyer Michael Avenatti The newly famous lawyer for porn star Stormy Daniels has more than a few things in

Michael Avenatti is interviewed on Thursday by Kristen Scholer on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. © Richard Drew Michael Avenatti is interviewed on Thursday by Kristen Scholer on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Michael Avenatti, the newly famous lawyer for porn star Stormy Daniels, has more than a few things in common with President Trump.

He's brash. He's media savvy. He enjoys the high life. He revels in antagonizing opponents.

In short, Trump may have met his match in this Newport Beach, Calif., lawyer whose client, now America's best-known stripper, is suing the president to break free of a deal that bars her from discussing what she says was a one-night stand with Trump in 2006.

With a swagger worthy of the young Trump who barged his way into New York's tabloids decades ago, Avenatti has spent weeks shuttling among Manhattan TV studios to taunt the president and his fixer Michael Cohen.

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LOS ANGELES - Michael Avenatti , the newly famous lawyer for porn star Stormy Daniels , has more than a few things in common with President Donald Trump . In short, Trump may have met his match in this Newport Beach lawyer whose client, now America' s best-known stripper, is suing the

Federal prosecutors say in a court filing that the criminal probe that led them to raid the offices of Donald Trump ' s lawyer this week is focused on his "personal business dealings." Stormy Daniels ' lawyer Michael Avenatti spoke outside of court.

His pugnacious edge makes Avenatti a natural on cable news.

"Wait a minute, I'm not done, I'm not done, I'm not done," he snapped at Cohen spokesman David Schwartz on CNN.

His casual allusions to impeachment — "To address the rumor: We DO NOT have a 'Monica Lewinsky type' dress," he announced on Twitter — underscore the lawsuit's high stakes for Trump.

More than anyone, Avenatti has shaped the scandal's narrative and kept it in the news. He has outfoxed the Trump forces over and over, most strikingly by getting Daniels on "60 Minutes."

Avenatti — whose professional history, like Trump's, is messy — had already appeared twice himself on "60 Minutes," both times playing the broadcast's stock part of dogged consumer lawyer nailing big companies for wrongdoing.

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  Stormy Daniels requests A lawyer for Stormy Daniels is asking the Treasury Department to release information filed with the government by a bank about "suspicious" activity surrounding the porn star's hush-money deal with Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump's longtime attorney.Michael Avenatti made the request in a letter addressed to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin on Monday. A copy of the letter was shared with CNN.

Stormy Daniels ' attorney Michael Avenatti has filed a motion in federal court seeking to depose President Donald Trump and his lawyer Michael Cohen Avenatti told CNN on Wednesday that he had a meeting with Trump ' s lawyer , Charles Harder, on March 21, during which he asked whether

Stormy Daniels ’ media-savvy lawyer and Trump ’ s newest nemesis. A take-no-prisoners litigator armed with sharp suits and a seemingly endless supply of trash talk, Avenatti is now using his signature mix of force and flash to go after President Donald Trump on behalf of porn actress Stormy

"Among trial lawyers, Avenatti is regarded as extraordinarily tenacious and aggressive," said Brian Kabateck, the incoming president of the Los Angeles Bar Association.

"He may be the perfect foil for Trump," he said, "because he understands Trump and is in Trump's head."

Louise Sunshine, a former New York lobbyist who worked closely with Trump early in his career, agreed that Avenatti was a vexing adversary.

"I think he's sort of got Donald figured out," she said.

Born in Sacramento, Calif., Avenatti, 47, grew up mainly in Chesterfield, Mo., a St. Louis suburb where he developed a love for sports cars and the Cardinals.

He studied political science at the University of Pennsylvania and earned a law degree as a night student at George Washington University, working on opposition research for both Democratic and Republican campaigns along the way.

In 2000, he moved to Los Angeles to practice law, spending three years at O'Melveny & Myers, then switching to a smaller firm.

Stormy Daniels lawyer: Trump ‘finally cracked,’ threw his attorney under the bus

  Stormy Daniels lawyer: Trump ‘finally cracked,’ threw his attorney under the bus Stormy Daniels's attorney said on Thursday that President Trump threw his personal lawyer under the bus when he said he was unaware of the $130,000 payment his attorney made to the porn star days prior the 2016 election. "He's effectively thrown, Michael Cohen now under the bus," Michael Avenatti said on MSNBC."This is an undisciplined guy, who you know, he finally cracked. We knew he would crack eventually. We'd been pa"He's effectively thrown, Michael Cohen now under the bus," Michael Avenatti said on MSNBC.

Michael Avenatti with Stormy Daniels in April. He said: ‘We have only scratched the surface in his case. Serious consequences will result.’ He must be confused.” Daniels – who has said she prefers not to use her real name, Stephanie Clifford – is suing Trump separately over his dismissal of her

When Stormy Daniels brought on Michael Avenatti , she unleashed a force of nature who has been steadily besting Trump at his own game. In hiring Avenatti , Daniels both benefited from bringing on a zealous advocate and from dumping one of the world’ s worst lawyers . If you want to know more

He gravitated toward celebrity cases, working for the Eagles' Don Henley and Glenn Frey when fellow band member Don Felder sued them, claiming he was cheated out of album and concert earnings. Avenatti also handled lawsuits against heiress Paris Hilton and actor Jim Carrey.

In 2007, Avenatti and two partners started a Newport Beach plaintiffs' firm, Eagan, O'Malley & Avenatti.

He soon took on Service Corp. International, a cemetery company accused of desecrating graves in the San Fernando Valley. He won an $80-million settlement, along with his first star turn on "60 Minutes," the CBS News flagship.

His biggest victory, now on appeal, was a $454-million jury verdict last year against surgical gown manufacturers Halyard Health and Kimberly-Clark. The gowns were supposed to protect doctors and nurses from blood-borne viruses such as Ebola and HIV, but sometimes leaked.

Avenatti was featured in the opening tease for a "60 Minutes" segment on the case. An executive at one of the gown makers, he said, "forgot the 11th commandment."

"Which is?" Anderson Cooper asked.

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"Do not lie to '60 Minutes,'" Avenatti replied, his close-up yielding to the ticking stopwatch.

Anderson Cooper interviews Stormy Daniels for © CBS News/60 Minutes via AP Anderson Cooper interviews Stormy Daniels for "60 Minutes." "He's a dangerous lawyer," said Brian Panish, an attorney who used to work with Avenatti, "because he is so sharp, quick and fearless."

Avenatti can be difficult with allies.

After a few years of booming business, he told the partners in his firm that he was leaving unless they agreed to give him a bigger share of the profits, John C. O'Malley alleged in a 2011 lawsuit.

Dumbfounded by what he called "brazen tactics," O'Malley protested, but Avenatti drove him out of the practice, he said in court documents. A judge confirmed an arbitration award of $2.7 million against Avenatti and the firm.

Avenatti, who declined to be interviewed and requested all questions in writing, said by email that the case was resolved to the satisfaction of all involved. "Anybody can say anything in a lawsuit," he wrote.

With his reliance on contingency cases, Avenatti lives on a boom-or-bust pay cycle.

He and his wife sold their oceanfront bluff-top house in Laguna Beach for $12.6 million in 2015. Since then he has rented high-end homes in Newport Beach and Los Angeles.

In recently filed court papers in their divorce case, his wife detailed extravagant holidays in France, Italy, Spain, Mexico and Japan. Avenatti collects artwork and watches, travels by private jet and leases a Ferrari Spider, his wife claimed in the documents.

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A part-time race-car driver, Avenatti has competed in the 24 Hours of Le Mans circuit.

"Once you've driven 190 miles per hour in the pouring rain, in the middle of the night, down the Mulsanne Straight with prototype cars whizzing by you at 240-plus miles per hour ... compared to that, what I'm doing right now is a warm-up lap," he told Sports Illustrated after the Daniels case vaulted him to fame.

His Porsche race car and white uniform both advertise Tully's Coffee, the Seattle chain that he bought in 2013 for $9 million in a partnership with "Grey's Anatomy" star Patrick Dempsey, a fellow racer.

Avenatti's sideline as coffee entrepreneur turned into a morass of legal and financial trouble. Dempsey sued and withdrew from the deal, saying Avenatti had borrowed $2 million against Tully's assets without telling him. They resolved the dispute out of court.

Keurig Green Mountain, which owns the Tully's brand, claims the chain has missed royalty payments and has moved to revoke its license to use the name. Tully's denied wrongdoing in its court response.

Multiple landlords have sued for back rent or eviction of Tully's stores.

After a gradual shutdown of Tully's outlets, the remaining stores closed a month ago when they nearly ran out of coffee, according to the Seattle Times, but a company spokeswoman said it was simply launching a "rebranding process."

David Nold, an attorney for one of the landlords, compared Avenatti to Trump. "They sure seem to have a very similar business style," he said. "Unpaid bills. Taxes owed. Bombastic to a fault when it comes to the facts."

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  The Latest: Stormy Daniels may show up at Cohen hearing Stephanie Clifford's lawyer, Michael Avenatti, said it's "very possible" that the porn actress would show up at Monday's hearing on the FBI's raid on President Donald Trump's personal lawyer's home and office. Avenatti spoke outside the court at Friday's hearing and then followed with a suggestive tweet that "the weather forecast for Mon looks very Stormy."5:50 p.m.

Avenatti called Nold "an embarrassment to the legal profession."

"Any claim that problems arose as a result of anything I did or did not do personally is ridiculous and baseless," he wrote.

He said he divested his interest in Tully's long ago and now serves solely as outside counsel.

In bankruptcy and civil court papers, however, Avenatti claimed a substantial ownership stake in the coffee chain as recently as April 2017, and in July 2017 identified himself as chairman, general counsel and a board of managers member at Global Baristas US, the company that runs Tully's.

At both Tully's and the Eagan Avenatti law firm, unpaid taxes have been a problem for Avenatti.

The Internal Revenue Service put a $5-million lien on Global Baristas US last June, initially naming Avenatti as the person responsible for payment.

The company withheld payroll taxes from employees, but did not transmit the money to the IRS, the government said. The state of Washington has filed more than $800,000 in similar liens against the company.

When Eagan Avenatti emerged last month from an involuntary Chapter 11 bankruptcy triggered by an unpaid vendor, Avenatti personally agreed to pay the IRS $2.4 million in back taxes, penalties and interest, bankruptcy court records show.

Nearly $1.3 million of that was for payroll taxes that the firm withheld from employees, but failed to turn over to the government.

Avenatti, who was responsible for holding the money in trust for the IRS, has repaid $1.5 million so far, said Thom Mrozek, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney in Los Angeles.

Avenatti attributed the unpaid taxes at Eagan Avenatti and the coffee company to "payroll companies that failed to do their job."

He called The Times' reporting inaccurate, but said he did not have the time or energy to address further questions about his dealings with the IRS and Tully's.

Stormy Daniels: Trump's lawyer believes he’s above the law

  Stormy Daniels: Trump's lawyer believes he’s above the law Adult-film star Stormy Daniels on Monday blasted Michael Cohen, President Trump's personal attorney, after Cohen made a court appearance related to an FBI raid of his office, hotel room and home last week. "For years, Mr. Cohen has acted like he is above the law. He has considered himself and openly referred to himself as Mr. Trump's 'fixer.' He's played by a different set of rules - or should we say no rules at all," Daniels said in a brief statement."He has never thought that the little man, or especially women - and even more, women like me - mattered," she continued. "That ends now.

The IRS also has put a $904,000 lien on all of Avenatti's personal property, due to unpaid 2009 and 2010 income taxes, Orange County records show. Avenatti said it "was placed in error." The lien remains open, according to the Orange County Clerk-Recorder's Office.

Avenatti said his taxes and personal life were irrelevant to his role in the Daniels case.

As he tries to resolve his financial troubles, his law practice is getting enormous publicity from the sex scandal. Savannah Guthrie, Wolf Blitzer and Megyn Kelly have each grilled him on television. To buttress his case, for the public if not for the court, he rations out scoops to TV networks.

Avenatti has been especially pointed in attacking Cohen, the longtime Trump personal attorney who set up the shell corporation that paid Daniels $130,000 in hush money just before the 2016 presidential election.

Avenatti appears on ABC's © Paula Lobo/ABC via Getty Images Avenatti appears on ABC's "The View" daytime talk show. On CNN, he ridiculed Cohen for saying he paid off a woman who never had sex with Trump.

"I would encourage every American tomorrow morning to call ... Mr. Cohen, claim you had an affair with the president. They will promptly send you a check for $130,000, no questions asked," Avenatti said sarcastically.

On Twitter, he rips both Cohen and Schwartz, Cohen's lawyer, punctuating tweets with his customary "basta," Italian for "enough."

"Where have the two legal geniuses of our time, Michael Cohen and David Schwartz, gone?" he tweeted Thursday. "Forced to sit down by Mr. Trump after repeatedly making a disaster of their case on national television and being mocked by every real lawyer in America? #didtheygotolawschool #basta."

Trump responds to Avenatti's provocations mostly with silence, leaving it to his spokesmen and lawyers to fight back.

Schwartz dismissed Avenatti's case as "completely wrong on the merits."

"But," Schwartz conceded, "he's an excellent performer."


Stormy Daniels: Trump's lawyer believes he’s above the law .
Adult-film star Stormy Daniels on Monday blasted Michael Cohen, President Trump's personal attorney, after Cohen made a court appearance related to an FBI raid of his office, hotel room and home last week. "For years, Mr. Cohen has acted like he is above the law. He has considered himself and openly referred to himself as Mr. Trump's 'fixer.' He's played by a different set of rules - or should we say no rules at all," Daniels said in a brief statement."He has never thought that the little man, or especially women - and even more, women like me - mattered," she continued. "That ends now.

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