Stormy Daniels and her lawyer Michael Avenatti have consistently made headlines over the last year for challenging, mocking and standing up to Donald Trump. But, in a statement the adult star released yesterday, she claimed that Avenatti — who has suggested he will run for president in 2020 — filed their defamation suit against President Trump without her permission, and kept her in the dark about crowdfunding efforts set up in her name.
In a statement to the Daily Beast on Wednesday, Daniels said: “For months I’ve asked Michael Avenatti to give me accounting information about the fund my supporters so generously donated to for my safety and legal defense. He has repeatedly ignored those requests. Days ago I demanded again, repeatedly, that he tell me how the money was being spent and how much was left. Instead of answering me, without my permission or even my knowledge Michael launched another crowdfunding campaign to raise money on my behalf. I learned about it on Twitter.”
She went on to say that she doesn’t know yet whether she’ll keep Avenatti on as her attorney, and that she’s grateful to him for the ways in which he’s been a great advocate, but that he hasn’t treated her with “the respect and deference an attorney should show to a client.”
“He has spoken on my behalf without my approval,” she said. “He filed a defamation case against Donald Trump against my wishes. He repeatedly refused to tell me how my legal defense fund was being spent. Now he has launched a new crowdfunding campaign using my face and name without my permission and attributing words to me that I never wrote or said.”
The lawsuit she referred to claimed that the president’s tweets calling Daniels’ assertion that she was threatened during the election to keep quiet about her alleged affair with Trump “a total con job” defamed her character. The suit was thrown out in October, by a judge who called the president’s statements “‘rhetorical hyperbole’ normally associated with politics and public discourse in the United States.”
Avenatti responded to Daniels’ statement in an email to Rolling Stone: “I am and have always been Stormy’s biggest champion. I have personally sacrificed an enormous amount of money, time and energy toward assisting her because I believe in her. I have always been an open book with Stormy as to all aspects of her cases and she knows that. You need only look back at her numerous prior interviews where she states we talk and communicate multiple times every day about her cases.”
“The retention agreement Stormy signed back in February provided that she would pay me $100.00 and that any and all other monies raised via a legal fund would go toward my legal fees and costs,” he said. “Instead, the vast majority of the money raised has gone toward her security expenses and similar other expenses. The most recent campaign was simply a refresh of the prior campaign, designed to help defray some of Stormy’s expenses.”
He did not comment on the defamation suit, or Daniels’ involvement in the decision to file. This rift is the second scandal for the high profile attorney this month, after Avenatti was arrested two weeks ago on murky domestic violence charges, allegations which he has vehemently denied.