- Michael Avenatti, the attorney for porn star Stormy Daniels, told Business Insider on Tuesday that he is unsure of the next steps for federal prosecutors after they canceled on his client.
- Prosecutors canceled their meeting after word of it leaked to the press.
- They accused Avenatti of leaking.
- Avenatti also said it was in the best interest of Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s longtime lawyer, to strike a deal with prosecutors.
Michael Avenatti, the attorney for porn star Stormy Daniels, told Business Insider on Tuesday that he is unsure of the next steps for federal prosecutors after they canceled a Monday meeting with his client.
“I have no idea what they’re doing,” Avenatti said when asked whether an interview with prosecutors was still in the cards after the Monday cancellation. “I thought the cancellation of the meeting was incredibly short-sighted. We’ve offered for her to testify before the grand jury at their convenience, and we’re going to continue to cooperate.”
The meeting was supposed to come in relation to the ongoing criminal investigation into President Donald Trump’s longtime lawyer, Michael Cohen.
On Monday, Avenatti said prosecutors in the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York canceled the meeting because word of it leaked to the press on Sunday.
“If they consider this a big deal, how will they ever bring any serious criminal charges against Cohen et al., let alone handle a trial, in such a high profile matter?” he tweeted. “We have bent over backwards to accommodate them. This is unheard of. We remain willing to cooperate but something isn’t right…”
Avenatti also published an email he sent to federal prosecutors criticising them for the cancellation.
A representative for the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York declined to comment when reached by Business Insider on Monday. Later that day, Avenatti released an email from Assistant US Attorney Nick Roos, who accused Avenatti of leaking word of the meeting to the media.
“Such leaks are inappropriate in and of themselves, and more importantly, call into question your commitment to maintaining the required confidentiality of the substance of our meeting with your client,” Roos told Avenatti in the email. “For these reasons we have cancelled our meeting, and will reassess how to proceed.”
‘Michael Cohen should be doing everything in his power to strike a deal’
Cohen is the focus of an investigation into whether he violated campaign-finance laws or committed bank fraud, wire fraud,illegal lobbying, or other crimes. In April, the FBI raided Cohen’s home, office, and hotel room.
At the center of Cohen’s troubles is a $US130,000 hush-money payment he facilitated weeks before the 2016 presidential election to Daniels to keep her quiet about her allegation of a 2006 affair with Trump. In the raids, the FBI sought documents related to the payment and other similar agreements with women.
Cohen, Trump, and the White House have denied the affair. Initially, Cohen denied that Trump reimbursed him for the payment, but last month, Trump admitted to repaying his attorney for the expense.
Meanwhile, Daniels is also suing Cohen and Trump in California seeking to void the nondisclosure agreement. She also sued her previous lawyer, Keith Davidson, who represented her in the hush-money settlement. Davidson, who is cooperating in the Cohen probe, countersued her.
Over the past week, Cohen has made a number of moves that have raised eyebrows:
- He hired a new lawyer that experts told Business Insider was exactly who you’d want to have if you were seeking to cut a deal with prosecutors.
- He criticised Trump’s controversial family-separation policy at the southern border in a resignation letter to the Republican National Committee.
- And people close to Cohen told The Wall Street Journal and CNN that he was frustrated Trump wasn’t paying his legal bills and that he was open to cooperating with the government and providing information on Trump.
Avenatti told Business Insider Tuesday that all of these developments were things he “predicted long ago” would happen.
“I predicted this months ago,” he said. “None of this comes as a surprise to me. Michael Cohen should be doing everything in his power to strike a deal with the US Attorney’s Office before it’s too late.”
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