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Stormy Daniels’ Ex-Lawyer, Who Is In Prison, Defends Trump

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


Several Republicans were caught off guard this week when Michael Avenatti, the former attorney for adult film star Stormy Daniels, defended former President Donald Trump regarding the gag order imposed in the Manhattan criminal case against the former president.

Avenatti wrote on X, formerly Twitter: “We can’t be hypocrites when it comes to the 1st Amendment. It is outrageous that [Michael] Cohen and Daniels can do countless TV interviews, post on social, & make $$ on bogus documentaries – all by talking sh*t about Trump – but he’s gagged and threatened with jail if he responds.”

Avenatti — who is currently serving a prison sentence for embezzling millions of dollars from his clients and impeding the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) efforts to collect taxes from Daniels’s now-defunct coffee company Tully’s — previously represented Daniels in lawsuits against Trump.

Daniels was one of the clients that Avenatti defrauded for $300,000.

In a case brought by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, Trump has been charged with 34 counts of falsifying business records about payments of hush money made to Daniels during his 2016 campaign.

Daniels has claimed that she received payment to remain silent regarding an early 2000s affair she had with Trump. Trump has pleaded not guilty to all charges and denied having had an affair. He asserted that there is political motivation for the case.

Judge Juan Merchan, who is overseeing the case that is scheduled for trial on April 15, placed a gag order on Trump last week to prevent the former president from publicly attacking witnesses like Daniels and court employees. The original order did not include Merchan or Bragg.

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Still, on Monday, Merchan extended it to protect his family better after Trump repeatedly attacked his daughter Loren Merchan on social media.

Former Trump attorney and now ferocious critic Michael Cohen has made numerous appearances on MSNBC to talk about the president’s legal problems, including the Manhattan criminal case in which he is a star witness.

Several conservatives and Trump supporters expressed surprise over Avenatti’s post.

Laura Loomer responded to Avenatti’s post: “WOW. Never thought I would see this. @MichaelAvenatti is defending President Trump’s right to free speech and is calling out the gag order imposed by Judge Merchan. Avenatti was one of the biggest Trump haters, and even he’s calling out this outrageous gag order on Trump.”

“Believe it or not: The @DNC’s Communist Lawfare is so disgraceful – That I agree with a disgraced former Democrat superstar, posting from his prison cell!” wrote X user @ConserValidity, a self-described constitutional conservative and supporter of Trump’s Make America Great Again (MAGA) movement.

Another Trump supporter, X user @texan_maga, wrote: “Avenatti is correct. Perhaps sitting in prison, he’s done some soul searching.”

“You know that @TheDemocrats and Leftist Judges have #ScrewedUp when Michael Avenatti defends what’s happening to Trump,” wrote X user @CreasonJana, a MAGA supporter.

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The Trump – Daniels case has already heated up in recent days.

Justice Juan M. Merchan of the New York Supreme Court has extended his gag order, which forbids Trump from disparaging witnesses, prosecutors, or court employees in the criminal trial involving “hush money,” to include his own and DA Bragg’s families.

Trump has made several remarks about Justice Merchan’s daughter in recent days, labeling her a “Rabid Trump Hater” and accusing her of sharing anti-Trump pictures on social media.

“The average observer, must now, after hearing Defendant’s recent attacks, draw the conclusion that if they become involved in these proceedings, even tangentially, they should worry not only for themselves, but for their loved ones as well,” wrote Merchan. “Such concerns will undoubtedly interfere with the fair administration of justice and constitutes a direct attack on the Rule of Law itself.”

He continued, “Again, all citizens, called upon to participate in these proceedings, whether as a juror, a witness, or in some other capacity, must now concern themselves not only with their own personal safety, but with the safety and the potential for personal attacks upon their loved ones. That reality cannot be overstated.”

Last week, Judge Merchan rejected the defense’s request to postpone the Manhattan trial until the summer and set the start date for April 15.

The allegations at the heart of Trump’s hush-money case are that he misrepresented payments to Cohen—who was then his personal attorney—as legal fees on the books of his business, even though they were actually for Cohen’s assistance in disguising unfavorable stories about him during the 2016 campaign.

Among them was the $130,000 he had given Daniels on Trump’s behalf to keep her quiet about her alleged previous sexual encounter with him.

In April of last year, Trump entered a not-guilty plea to 34 counts of falsifying business records, a felony that carries a maximum four-year prison sentence. However, a conviction does not ensure that Trump will serve any time behind bars.

He denies ever having sex with Daniels, and according to his attorneys, Cohen’s payments were just reasonable legal fees and had nothing to do with any cover-up.

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