Michael Avenatti warned by federal judge about 'publicity tour'

02 June, 2018, 05:16 | Author: Clarence Schmidt
  • Investigators to review more than 1 million items seized from Cohen

A NY judge set a June 15 deadline Wednesday for lawyers for President Donald Trump and his personal lawyer to make attorney-client privilege claims over data seized in April raids, saying it was important not to delay the criminal investigation.

Prosecutors reportedly believe Avenatti is "stringing them along", according to the Journal's sources, a claim Avenatti denied Monday, adding a claim Davidson is "conspiring behind her back with Mr. Cohen", per the report.

Daniels, who was not at the hearing, was paid $130,000 by Cohen before the 2016 election to keep silent about an alleged 2006 affair with Trump.

Avenatti's actions have frustrated prosecutors, but have yet to see any discrediting information that could stop the investigation. The next court date in his case is set for Wednesday morning.

Harrison argued against a mid-June deadline, saying that "we are moving heaven and earth" to rapidly complete a privilege review.

"It is no longer necessary in light of the motion to intervene, which may not be necessary, being delayed", Avenatti wrote in an email.

"For a person who claims to be a lawyer, the minuscule amount of allegedly privileged matter is surprising, and what it tells us is that Cohen wasn't acting as a lawyer very often", Roland Riopelle, a partner at Sercarz & Riopelle who was formerly a federal prosecutor with the US Attorney's Office for the Southern District of NY, told Business Insider.

Ryan, one of Cohen's lawyers, said in court that Avenatti acted maliciously by releasing his client's bank records and attacking Cohen in dozens of media appearances, to "paint a false narrative" about Cohen and "call attention to himself".

"When you get into it, you realize how much time it takes", said Alan Futerfas, who represents the Trump Organization, referring to Cohen's team's work.

Avenatti admitted he had no concrete proof of that claim, but he said the existence of the recordings should be considered a red flag.

"I was told to pull up a seat and share this table", Avenatti said with a chuckle before sitting down. They also said it was likely that they belonged to Cohen's wife, which surprised federal prosecutors from the U.S. attorney's office, who said that they were not previously made aware of that information.

Wood also noted that Avenatti could potentially affect whether or not Cohen is given a fair trial if the case ever gets far.

The FBI is still working to access two blackberries, as well as going through the contents of a shredding machine, lawyers said. Avenatti, they said, focused on "smearing" Cohen.

"We have already started producing documents to the government so any suggestion we are not cooperating is meritless", Avenatti said. Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, has also filed a suit against Cohen, claiming a nondisclosure agreement she struck with Trump is null and void. By Ryan's count, Avenatti made at least 170 TV appearances and Ryan said he attacked Cohen in a lot of them. He accused Cohen's lawyers of leaking the audio. Avenatti's firm holds a 75 percent stake in Eagan-Avenatti while Michael Eagan holds a 25 percent stake in said firm, according to documents obtained by Finnegan. "I want you to participate, or not be in the matter at all", Wood said.

Cohen's attorneys have earlier expressed their desire for Avenatti to not be admitted into the case, which he is seeking to do on Daniels' behalf. Written by Philip Bump and Mark Berman.



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