Stormy Daniels and Avenatti meet again, as adversaries

Jan 27, 2022, 9:43 AM | Updated: 4:34 pm

NEW YORK (AP) — Stormy Daniels took her star turn on the witness stand Thursday at California lawyer Michael Avenatti’s trial, telling a jury she was “very, very angry” and felt “betrayed and stupid” when she was told that the lawyer she had teamed up with against former President Donald Trump had stolen from her.

Her testimony, which lasted over three hours and will continue Friday, was a highly anticipated moment at the trial of a man who parlayed his representation of Daniels in her legal battles against the president in 2018 into a high-profile role as a Trump adversary.

Prosecutors say he cheated the entertainer and adult film actress of nearly $300,000 of her $800,000 publisher’s advance on her 2018 autobiography, “Full Disclosure.”

Daniels answered a prosecutor’s questions until the final few minutes of the day, when the showdown with Avenatti became a direct confrontation after Avenatti began representing himself on the trial’s second day.

It began cordially, with Avenatti addressing her from a closed booth where lawyers stand as they question witnesses with: “Ms. Daniels, good afternoon.”

“Good afternoon,” Daniels responded.

Avenatti asked her how he was expected to be paid for all the work he did for her since their contract only called for her to pay him $100.

She responded that he was expected to draw money from a crowd-funding website that raised $650,000 for her legal expenses along with a share of any proceeds he obtained in lawsuits against Trump.

“Any other way?” Avenatti asked.

“Not that we agreed upon,” Daniels answered.

Before long, Avenatti was asking her more personal questions, including whether she has said she has the ability to speak to dead people.

“Yes, I’ve said that,” she said.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Sobelman confined most of his questions earlier to the breakdown that occurred in the Avenatti-Daniels relationship between the summer of 2019 and the following February.

When Daniels was asked her reaction upon learning in February 2019 that payments from her publisher that were made months earlier had never been passed along to her, she said she was “very, very angry. Shocked. Disbelief. Hurt, and I felt very betrayed and stupid.”

Avenatti has insisted he is innocent. A lawyer for Avenatti said at the trial’s start on Monday that Daniels owed him a portion of her book income for his work for her after she had only been charged $100 for his representation.

Daniels, wearing a black dress, maroon sweater and black heels, began her testimony late in the morning after she was summoned to the witness stand, which was enclosed in a see-through plastic box with a special air filter so that she could remove her mask.

“The government calls Stephanie Clifford, also known as Stormy Daniels,” Sobelman said before she entered the specially configured courtroom to prevent against the spread of the coronavirus.

The prosecutor asked Daniels to identify Avenatti in the courtroom, prompting Avenatti to stand.

“He’s the gentleman standing up in the blue shirt,” she said.

Among Sobelman’s first questions was to request if Daniels preferred to use any other name.

“Stormy Daniels,” she said, explaining that was her stage name.

After Sobelman asked her about Avenatti’s representation of her in 2018, he asked her why the attorney-client relationship ended and she hired another lawyer.

“I hired a new attorney because he stole from me and lied to me,” she said.

Daniels said she had hired Avenatti in early 2018 to represent her in her claims against Trump. Daniels sought legal representation because she wanted to speak publicly about her claims that she had a sexual tryst with Trump over a decade earlier. She had been paid $130,000 days before the 2016 presidential election to remain silent. Trump has denied the claims.

She said that since the formal agreement called for her to pay Avenatti $100, she gave it to him in cash at a restaurant in Los Angeles, and he used it to pay for lunch.

Sobelman asked her if she had ever agreed with Avenatti to pay him more than the $100.

“No,” she testified.

Daniels was shown many of her text communications with Avenatti between July 2018 and February 2018 as she became increasingly frustrated and angry that she had not been paid as Avenatti continued to blame the publisher.

She threatened to go public against the publisher several times, but a letter from her agent’s office showed her in mid-February 2019 that the payments she had not seen had been received by Avenatti as much as six months earlier into an account she did not recognize and had not authorized.

Sobelman asked her what her reaction to the revelations were.

“I don’t know if there is a word stronger than furious,” she said, “and shocked.”

Daniels said she has had no communications with Avenatti since February 2019.

Avenatti, 50, has pleaded not guilty to wire fraud and aggravated identify theft. The trial was in its fourth day of testimony.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

This combination photo of celebrities with birthdays from Oct. 2 - Oct. 8 shows Sting, from left, G...
Associated Press

Celebrity birthdays for the week of Oct. 2-8

Celebrity birthdays for the week of Oct. 2-8: Oct. 2: Critic Rex Reed is 84. Singer Don McLean is 77. Country singer Jo-el Sonnier is 76. Actor Avery Brooks (“Star Trek: Deep Space Nine”) is 74. Guitarist Mike Rutherford of Genesis and Mike and the Mechanics is 72. Musician Sting is 71. Actor Robin Riker […]
7 hours ago
California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara speaks at a state Capitol news conference in Sacrame...
Associated Press

Insurers say California’s inaction threatens auto policies

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Top U.S. insurance companies and associations say California is risking a crisis in the nation’s largest automobile insurance market by refusing to approve any rate increases for more than two years, since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. The companies already are cutting back and say they can’t continue operating at […]
7 hours ago
Associated Press

War in Ukraine drags on global economy into 2023, OECD says

PARIS (AP) — Russia’s war in Ukraine and the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are dragging down global economic growth more than expected and driving up inflation that will stay high into next year, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said Monday in a darkening outlook. The Paris-based organization projects worldwide growth to […]
7 hours ago
This screen shot from a Zoom video hearing shows Michael Carneal on Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2022 at Kent...
Associated Press

Kentucky man who shot classmates in ’97 imprisoned for life

A Kentucky man who killed three fellow students and wounded five others when he was 14 years old will have to spend the rest of his life in prison without another opportunity to seek parole, the Kentucky Parole Board voted Monday. Michael Carneal, now 39, told parole board members last week that he would live […]
7 hours ago
This cover image released by Blackstone Publishing shows "Courage Under Fire: Under Siege and Outnu...
Associated Press

Former U.S. Capitol Police chief has deal for Jan. 6 book

NEW YORK (AP) — The chief of the U.S. Capitol Police during the Jan. 6 siege has a book deal. Steven A. Sund’s “Courage Under Fire: Under Siege and Outnumbered 58 to 1 on January 6” will come out Jan. 3, just shy of the two-year anniversary of the riot by supporters of President Donald […]
7 hours ago
Associated Press

Proposed Nebraska mine raises up to $366M of $1.1B it needs

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — A mining company that wants to extract an assortment of rare elements from southeast Nebraska has announced an agreement that will provide up to $285 million to help cover the roughly $1.1 billion cost of building the mine. In addition to the acquisition of a special purpose acquisition company called GX […]
7 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Children’s Cancer Network

Children’s Cancer Network celebrates cancer-fighting superheroes, raises funds during September’s Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

Jace Hyduchak was like most other kids in his kindergarten class: He loved to play basketball, dress up like his favorite superheroes and jump as high as his pint-sized body would take him on his backyard trampoline.
...
Dr. Richard Carmona

Great news: Children under 5 can now get COVID-19 vaccine

After more than two years of battle with an invisible killer, we can now vaccinate the youngest among us against COVID-19. This is great news.
...
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

Vaccines are safe if you are pregnant or breastfeeding

Are you pregnant? Do you have a friend or loved one who’s expecting?
Stormy Daniels and Avenatti meet again, as adversaries