This erstwhile Resistance Hero is currently in the middle of his third criminal trial in two years, this one is for allegedly stealing $300,000 in Daniels’ book proceeds. (The first two were trying to extort Nike for $25 million, guilty; and stealing from clients in California, mistrial awaiting retrial.)
Daniels, whose legal name is Stephanie Clifford, is a former porn actor who alleged that Trump attorney Michael Cohen arranged a $130,000 payment in October 2016 so she wouldn’t reveal before the presidential election that she’d had sex with Donald Trump—the sex was back in 2006 while Melania was pregnant with Barron. Daniels became pretty famous after this news came out and after suing Trump, and she got a book deal.
“Full Disclosure” was released in the fall of 2018 with a foreword by Avenatti. In 2019, federal prosecutors charged Avenatti with defrauding Daniels for allegedly telling her literary agent to send payments not to Daniels but to an account he controlled. Prosecutors said he stole $300,000 of Daniels’ $800,000 advance and spent that money to pay his law firm employees, as well as on hotels, airfare, dry cleaning and his Ferrari. He has only paid half of it back. Avenatti has pleaded not guilty to the charges. One of his lawyers claimed Monday that Daniels owed Avenatti a portion of her book income as payment for legal representation since he’d only charged her $100.
On Tuesday, Avenatti said he’d parted ways with his public defenders and was going to represent himself. This meant he would cross-examine Daniels after she testified against him. Avenatti said this morning that intended to cross examine Daniels for six hours (pour one out for Stormy), and the judge was already over it.
Daniels took the stand just after 11am on Thursday and testified that she hired a new attorney because Avenatti “stole from me and lied to me.”
Daniels also told prosecutors she never agreed to pay Avenatti more than $100 and pointed out that a crowd-funding campaign raised $650,000 to pay for Avenatti’s legal services.
Update 1/27/22, 5pm: Avenatti was able to start cross-examining Daniels at 2:50pm, 10 minutes before the trial was set to adjourn for the day. With his questions, Avenatti seemed to imply that they had an arrangement for him to take money from her book deal in order to compensate him for his legal work. Daniels denied that she’d agreed to that and again noted the $650,000 raised online for Avenatti.
The trial is set to resume Friday, January 28.
This post will be updated as Daniels continues to testify.