Stormy Daniels’ disgraced ex-attorney Michael Avenatti fires back at Trump trial testimony from prison cell

Stormy Daniels’ disgraced former attorney Michael Avenatti fired back at testimony from Keith Davidson in the hush money trial of former President Donald Trump.

Mr Davidson is the attorney who negotiated Ms Daniels’ $130,000 payment from former Trump fixer-turned-witness for the prosecution Michael Cohen which is at the centre of the trial.

Mr Trump faces 34 counts of falsifying business records after he reimbursed Cohen for the payment. The reimbursement was later logged as legal expenses. The prosecution argues that the payment in the lead-up to the 2016 election was tantamount to election interference, making the false records a felony.

On Thursday, the Trump legal team brought up an April 2018 conversation between Mr Davidson and Cohen regarding a CNN interview in which he said that he didn’t give any indication that the money was coming from Mr Trump.

On a recording of the conversation, Mr Davidson says he was asked whether “Cohen needed authority from Donald Trump to make that payment and I said no, it was never discussed”.

Mr Davidson said it was “about completing a deal between two consenting adults, or that my client wanted and that his entity wanted [it]. That’s it”.

Avenatti arrives at a federal court in Manhattan for his criminal trial in January 2022 (AFP via Getty Images)
Avenatti arrives at a federal court in Manhattan for his criminal trial in January 2022 (AFP via Getty Images)

Prosecutor Joshua Steinglass noted that at the time of that April 2018 conversation with Cohen, Ms Daniels was being represented by Avenatti – who was suing both of them.

Mr Davidson said on Thursday that Avenatti was trying to drive a wedge between him and Ms Daniels.

“Keith Davidson is lying,” Avenatti wrote on X on Thursday. “After I confronted her [with] her own text [messages], Daniels admitted to me in early 2019 that she [and] Davidson had extorted Trump in [October] 2016 – it was a shakedown. This was one of the many reasons I fired her as a client in [February] 2019.”

Avenatti has said he has been in contact with Mr Trump’s legal team and is willing to testify. He’s currently serving a prison sentence for attempting to extort Nike and for embezzling settlement funds from several other clients.

Avenatti with Stormy Daniels in 2018 (AFP via Getty Images)
Avenatti with Stormy Daniels in 2018 (AFP via Getty Images)

Mr Davidson said he recalled discussing leverage in connection to Ms Daniels’ case in the context of the election and what her manager Gina Rodriguez’s boyfriend had said.

“I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if he comes out and says, You know what, Stormy Daniels, she wanted this money more than you can ever imagine,” he said on one of the recordings played in court. “I remember hearing her on the phone saying, You f****** Keith Davidson, you better settle this god damn story … because if he loses this election, and he’s going to lose, we lose all f****** leverage and this case is worth zero.”