Michael Avenatti Drops Stormy Daniels as Client
Television lawyer Michael Avenatti announced Tuesday that he will no longer represent pornographic actress Stormy Daniels.
“On February 19, we informed Stormy Daniels in writing that we were terminating our legal representation of her for various reasons that we cannot disclose publicly due to attorney-client privilege,” Avenatti said in a statement shared to Twitter. “This was not a decision we made lightly and it came only after lengthy discussion, thought and deliberation, as well as consultation with other professionals,” he added. “We wish Stormy all the best.”
In a separate statement, Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, said she has hired a new attorney and requested he review all her legal matters. “I have retained Clark Brewster as my personal lawyer and have asked him and his firm to review all legal matters involving me. Upon completion of Mr. Brewster’s review and further consultation with me, I anticipate Mr. Brewster will serve as my primary counsel on all legal issues,” she tweeted.
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Daniels alleges she had a one-night affair with President Trump in 2006. Last year, she sued the president with the help of Avenatti seeking to break a non-disclosure agreement she signed days before the 2016 election about the tryst as part of a $130,000 hush money settlement. President Trump has denied the affair.
Despite the deal to stay quiet, Daniels spoke out publicly and alleged that five years after the affair she was threatened to keep quiet by a man she did not recognize in a Las Vegas parking lot. She also released a composite sketch of the mystery man. She sued President Trump for defamation after he responded to the allegation by tweeting: “A sketch years later about a nonexistent man. A total con job, playing the Fake News Media for Fools (but they know it)!” A judge ruled in October that the president’s statement was “rhetorical hyperbole” against a political adversary and was protected speech under the First Amendment.
Tuesday’s development follows reports that Avenatti’s law firm filed for bankruptcy protection on Thursday after his ex-partner alleged the television lawyer attempted to hide millions derived from legal fees.
The embattled lawyer was arrested in November on suspicion of domestic violence, but prosecutors have declined to bring felony charges against the attorney. They are investigating whether he should face a misdemeanor charge for allegations he roughed up a girlfriend. He has denied wrongdoing.
Avenatti, a Democrat who has positioned himself as a foe of President Trump, declined to run for the White House after the abuse allegations became public.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.