Adult-film star Stormy Daniels’ lawyer has thwarted efforts by federal prosecutors to obtain information about a hush payment involving the President’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen, people familiar with the matter said.
The porn star’s lawyer, Michael Avenatti, has lately been one of the most fervent critics of Cohen, who in 2016 paid Stephanie Clifford – Daniel’s real name – $130,000 to keep quiet about her affair with President Donald Trump.
However, the sources add that behind the scenes, Avenatti has hindered prosecutors’ attempts to discuss the nondisclosure agreement with Daniels’ former lawyer. Avenatti further demanded to review documents investigators subpoenaed from Stephanie Clifford’s former manager, Gina Rodriguez.
Cohen is under criminal investigation for possible campaign-finance violations and bank fraud related to the payment to Daniels, The Wall Street Journal writes. He has denied wrongdoing and hasn’t been charged with any crime, while his client has denied ever having sex with the adult-film star.
The people familiar with the matter said that Avenatti hasn’t yet acted on multiple requests from federal prosecutors in Manhattan for Daniels to waive the attorney-client privilege that prevents her former lawyer, Keith Davidson, from discussing their communications about the non-disclosure deal.
Last month, Clifford’s current lawyer Avenatti sent a cease-and-desist letter to Davidson ordering him not to disclose any communications related to her, one of the sources said. He also demanded the same from Clifford’s former manager, who helped engineer the hush-money deal.
Avenatti claimed on Monday that he and his client have “cooperated fully” with government prosecutors although he has been delaying responding to their requests. He added that he and Clifford are still determining whether to waive privilege and are “ironing out the details.”
“We have already started producing documents to the government so any suggestion we are not cooperating is meritless,” Avenatti said.