- Porn star Stormy Daniels’s attorney, Michael Avenatti, called President Donald Trump’s longtime lawyer Michael Cohen’s ABC News interview a “nothingburger.”
- Avenatti said it’s clear Cohen’s loyalties remain with the president.
- “Mr. Cohen is trying to get Trump to pay his legal bills & is playing games,” Avenatti tweeted.
Michael Avenatti, the attorney for porn star Stormy Daniels, isn’t taking President Donald Trump’s longtime lawyer Michael Cohen’s silence-breaking ABC News interview as a sign he’s splitting with his old boss.
Avenatti views the interview as a sign that Cohen’s “loyalties still lie with the president,” he told CNN Tuesday.
“Mr. Cohen is trying to get Trump to pay his legal bills & is playing games,” Avenatti tweeted.” If he has info & truly loves this country then he needs to come forward NOW. There is nothing stopping him. If not, it will be obvious he lied to the public in an effort to paint himself as a good guy.”
Avenatti wrote that Cohen would eventually “flip” and cooperate with the government, “but not for ‘love of country’,” as Cohen seemed to suggest in the ABC News interview.
“He will do it to only when he has to – in order to save himself,” Avenatti tweeted. “The @GMA ‘interview’ was a weak publicity stunt meant to try and rehabilitate his image.”
In the interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, Cohen said he would “put family and country first” when considering what he should do regarding the criminal investigation.
When Stephanopoulos pressed Cohen about his past vow to “take a bullet” for Trump, Cohen doubled down.
“To be crystal clear, my wife, my daughter, and my son and this country have my first loyalty,” he said.
Cohen, who worked for Trump over the past decade, is the focus of an investigation in the Southern District of New York into whether he violated campaign-finance laws or committed bank fraud, wire fraud, illegal lobbying, or other crimes. The FBI raided his home, his office, and his hotel room in April, seizing roughly 4 million documents from the lawyer.
At the center of Cohen’s troubles is a $US130,000 payment he facilitated weeks before the 2016 presidential election to Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, to keep her quiet about her allegation of a 2006 affair with Trump. The FBI sought documents related to that payment and other similar agreements with women.
Trump, Cohen, and the White House denied an affair took place. Originally, Cohen said Trump did not reimburse him for the payment. In May, however, Trump acknowledged paying back his lawyer for the cost.
Asked whether Trump directed him to pay Daniels, Cohen said he could not comment now.
“I want to answer,” he said. “One day I will answer. But for now, I can’t comment further on advice of my counsel.”
In June, Cohen hired Guy Petrillo as the latest lawyer representing him in the case after it was reported that Cohen was breaking up with his legal team. Petrillo, a partner at Petrillo Klein & Boxer, has extensive experience in the Southern District of New York, which is something Cohen reportedly sought. Experts told Business Insider Petrillo was the kind of lawyer a person would choose before cutting a deal with prosecutors.
“Once I understand what charges might be filed against me, if any at all, I willdefer=”defer”to my new counsel, Guy Petrillo, for guidance,” Cohen told ABC News.
Nothing indicates Cohen ‘is anything but loyal to’ Trump
Trump has distanced himself from Cohen, suggesting that the investigation has far more to do with Cohen’s business dealings than anything Cohen did for the president.
During his interview with CNN, Avenatti called Cohen’s interview “a huge nothingburger” and accused him of “playing games with the American people.”
“If he wanted to come clean about what he knows and what he has on the president, there is nothing stopping him from doing it right now,” Avenatti said.
He added that nothing has happened “to indicate that Michael Cohen is anything but loyal to the president.”
“I think he’s paying lip service to this patriotism and love of country,” he said.
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