The lawyer for Stormy Daniels claimed in a federal court filing on Tuesday that President Donald Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen may be leaking “select audio recordings” of the porn star that were seized during FBI raids on Cohen’s home and office in April.
Lawyer Michael Avenatti, in a letter to U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood, asked her to question Cohen about the leaks at an upcoming hearing in a lawsuit over attorney-client privilege claims by Cohen and Trump relating to materials seized by federal agents investigating Cohen.
“We have reason to believe that plaintiff Michael Cohen or members of his team have begun to leak select audio recordings to the media,” Avenatti wrote. “We further have reason to believe that these recordings may relate to our client.”
Avenatti said the leaks were “meant to paint a false narrative relating to Mr. Cohen and his business dealings at the same time he is not disclosing numerous other recordings of him speaking with individuals such as Mr. Trump.”
Cohen made a $130,000 payment to Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, to keep her quiet in 2016 about an alleged affair with Trump. Prosecutors say he is under investigation for fraud-related offenses. A special master named by Wood is currently reviewing the seized files to filter out privileged materials.
Avenatti wants to intervene in the case over the seized files because he said they likely contain materials relating to Daniels. Earlier this month, he publicized confidential bank records from Cohen revealing massive payments to him from companies with issues before the government.
That sparked a war of words with Cohen in court filings over whether Avenatti should be allowed to participate in the case. In Tuesday’s letter Avenatti said the purported leaks of audio recordings would call into doubt the “seriousness” of Cohen’s claims that Avenatti is behaving unethically.
Prosecutors have still not seen the materials seized from Cohen while special master Barbara Jones reviews them. As part of that process, Cohen has been provided copies of everything seized from him.
Avenatti said that if Cohen is leaking those materials it may “directly interfere with the privilege review being conducted by the special master.” No news reports had surfaced by Tuesday afternoon about audio tapes involving Daniels. A lawyer for Cohen did not immediately return a call for comment.
While Avenatti blasted Cohen in New York, a California federal bankruptcy judge on Tuesday ordered Avenatti’s law firm to pay $10 million to a former colleague after failing to make a $2 million payment personally guaranteed by Avenatti to settle the firm bankruptcy, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The paper also reported that the Justaudiotapesent revealed that Avenatti has defaulted on $440,000 in back taxes, penalties and interest he promised to pay for the law firm.
Avenatti did not return a call for comment.