Former Stormy Lawyer Michael Avenatti Says As Yet Unseen Evidence in ‘Hush Money’ Case Favors Trump


OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.

Michael Avennati, the attorney who represented adult film star Stormy Daniels — whose real name is Stephanie Clifford — said earlier this month that as-yet-unseen evidence in the hush money case involving his former client in Manhattan will favor Donald Trump.

“There are many critical facts and pieces of evidence (texts, emails, etc.) relating to the hush money scandal that have yet to see the light of day. And they will unfortunately be very damaging to the prosecution if Trump stands trial. At this point, you simply can’t build a case on the testimony of Cohen & Daniels,” Avennati tweeted on March 16, before major twists and turns in the case were revealed.

In February 2020, Avennati was convicted in New York of stealing book advance money from Daniels. In December 2022, he was sentenced to 14 years in prison and fined $11 million after being convicted of stealing millions from clients. In addition, he is also serving time for attempting to extort apparel giant Nike.

Following his tweet, there were reports that Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg had plans to indict the former president for allegedly violating state campaign finance laws. Those reports indicated that Bragg believed Trump oversaw a payment of $130,000 to Daniels ahead of the 2016 election to buy her silence over an affair the two of them may have had in 2006. Bragg’s office believed that the payment was made in the context of an in-kind campaign contribution, which is illegal in New York.


The payment was reportedly made by Michael Cohen, who was Trump’s personal attorney at the time.

Robert Costello, a former legal advisor to Cohen, referred to him as a “convicted perjurer” during testimony before the Manhattan grand jury hearing the case last week, further suggesting that Cohen’s previous testimony to the grand jury on Monday regarding Trump is unreliable.

Costello told reporters on Thursday he wanted to provide the truth to grand jurors and to counter the lies he says have been promoted by the media. He added that if there was solid evidence to pursue Trump, no problem — but he suggested that Cohen is not necessarily a reliable witness, echoing Avennati’s previous tweet.

“If you see the full picture, you know, listen, if they want to go after Donald Trump and they have solid evidence, so be it. But Michael Cohn is far from solid evidence,” Costello told NewsNation.

“This guy, by any prosecutor’s standard, and I used to be deputy chief of the criminal division in the Southern District of New York, I wouldn’t have touched the guy like Michael Cohen, especially if he’s a convicted perjurer,” he continued. “Not to mention, as I said, the 50 to 100 lies he [Cohen] told us that are in those 330 emails.”

Cohen admitted guilt in 2018 to various offenses, including violating campaign finance laws by paying $130,000 to Daniels. Cohen, who was incarcerated for over a year after his conviction, also claims that he made the payment at Trump’s behest, according to reports.


Daniels, meanwhile, met with Manhattan prosecutors who are leading the probe on Wednesday, the outlet continued.

In the letter from 2018, shared by Trump on his TruthSocial account on Thursday, Daniels denies any affair ever happened between the two.

“Over the past few weeks I have been asked countless times to comment on reports of an alleged sexual relationship I had with Donald Trump many, many, many years ago,” Daniels said.


“The fact of the matter is that each party to this alleged affair denied its existence on 2006, 2011, 2016, 2017 and now again in 2018. I am not denying this affair because I was paid ‘hush money’ as has been reported in overseas owned tabloids. I am denying this affair because it never happened,” she said.

“I will have no further comment on this matter,” she concluded.

By week’s end, the reported coming indictment of Trump never materialized.


A report from The Wall Street Journal detailed “chaos and last-minute shuffling within the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office,” adding that Bragg is “scrambling” to indict Trump. The grand jurors who will eventually hear the Trump case did convene on Thursday but discussed “another matter unrelated” to Trump.

“It is common for grand juries in New York to hear multiple cases at a time,” the Journal’s Corinne Ramey wrote. “Grand jury schedules can be unpredictable because panels juggle cases with competing demands and deadlines, former prosecutors said.”


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