- President Donald Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani explained on Friday why he won’t debate Stormy Daniels’ lawyer, Michael Avenatti.
- Giuliani told Business Insider he didn’t “get involved with pimps.”
- Avenatti tweeted earlier this week that he was “willing to participate on any network provided both sides are provided a fair shake.”
- ALSO: Giuliani responded to new developments in the Michael Cohen case.
President Donald Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani on Friday escalated his battle with Michael Avenatti, the lawyer for the adult-film actress Stormy Daniels.
Avenatti earlier this week challenged Giuliani to a head-to-head debate.
“It would be very helpful for the public to witness a discussion between Mr. Giuliani and me concerning the facts of the case, etc.,” Avenatti tweeted Tuesday. “I am willing to participate on any network provided both sides are provided a fair shake. I am also willing to do it on 12-hrs notice.”
During a phone interview with Business Insider, Giuliani said he wouldn’t debate Avenatti because the lawyer was “pimping for money.”
“I don’t get involved with pimps,” Giuliani said. “The media loves to give him room because he makes these roundabout charges and they turn out to mean nothing. I think he’s going to get himself in serious trouble.”
Avenatti fired back at Giuliani on Twitter Friday evening, posting a 2000 video of Giuliani dressed in drag with Trump performing a skit for the then-mayor’s Inner Circle Press Roast.
— Michael Avenatti (@MichaelAvenatti) May 11, 2018
Avenatti, a cable-news mainstay, made waves this week by disclosing some of Michael Cohen’s financial dealings after the 2016 presidential election. Cohen, Trump’s longtime lawyer, accepted payments from AT&T, the pharmaceutical company Novartis, Korea Aerospace Industries, and Columbus Nova, an investment firm with ties to Russia. Those companies all confirmed they made payments to Cohen after Avenatti’s report was released, though their were smaller errors in the document, titled “Project Sunlight,” which Cohen’s lawyers seized on in a court filing.
The companies paid Cohen more than $US1.2 million through Essential Consultants LLC, a shell company he set up to facilitate a $US130,000 hush-money payment to Daniels, who says she had an affair with Trump in 2006. Cohen and White House aides deny that any affair took place, though Giuliani made headlines last week when he said Trump had reimbursed Cohen for the payment.
Cohen is the focus of a criminal investigation in the Southern District of New York into whether he violated campaign-finance laws or committed bank fraud. He has not been charged with a crime.
Avenatti did not make clear how he obtained the banking records, and experts were left guessing just how he came upon them. The Treasury Department’s inspector general opened an investigation this week into whether Suspicious Activity Reports were leaked to Avenatti.
Avenatti did not immediately return a request for comment from Business Insider.
“I think he’s got a lot of explaining to do,” Giuliani said of Avenatti, adding that he did not know how Avenatti would have come upon those records.
“I wouldn’t debate him because it wouldn’t be fair,” the former New York mayor and US attorney continued.
He added, “I debate, like, really intelligent, skilled people,” pointing to the famed attorney and Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz.
“I know Alan Dershowitz,” Giuliani said. “He’s no Alan Dershowitz.”
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