How the tables have turned…
Former porn star Stormy Daniels took to the stand this week in federal court in Manhattan with her former ally Michael Avenatti to accuse the lawyer of stealing nearly half her advance from an $800,000 book deal.
Avenatti was formerly Daniels’ lawyer when the duo took on then-President Donald Trump in 2018, Bloomberg reported this week.
But that honeymoon has obviously long been over. Daniels said this week in court: “He betrayed my trust. I thought he was my friend.”
She said that she left Avenatti professionally in February 2019 after she received evidence that he had “secretly intercepted multiple electronic payments from her publisher,” Bloomberg reported. Avenatti “played dumb” when he was asked about the payments, she said under questioning by a prosecutor this week.
Daniels said: “I don’t know if there’s a word stronger than furious, but that would be it – and shock.”
She continued: “He lied to me every day for almost five months.”
Daniels said she first met with Avenatti in 2018 to try and figure out her options for a lawsuit against then-President Donald Trump. “I was trying to find out my legal rights and how to get out of a nondisclosure deal,” she said this week.
Meanwhile, Avenatti is representing himself after relieving his federal defender from their duties. He questioned Daniels directly this week, asking her: “Ms. Daniels, do you have a single text message, email, voice mail or recording that says I would not take any money from your book deal?”
She replied: “No”.
Daniels also agreed that her contract with Avenatti allowed him to have proceeds from a legal defense fund, a percentage of any financial “winnings against Donald Trump,” and “a reasonable percentage to be agreed upon by client and attorney” of her future book deal.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Benjamin Sobelman asked Daniels: “At any point, did you and the defendant ever agree that the defendant would get any portion of a book or media opportunity?”
She replied: “No” and continued to allege Avenatti stole $300,000 from the advance.
He said he “would never take a penny from my book” because he said Daniels was “courageous and deserved it,” she testified.