Politics

Avenatti Says He’s Talking to Trump’s Team, Would Testify for Ex-Prez

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.


Michael Avenatti, the onetime attorney for adult film star Stormy Daniels, said late last week that he has been in contact with former President Donald Trump’s hush money trial team and has offered to testify on Trump’s behalf if needed.

In an interview with the New York Post, Avenatti called Trump’s trial politically motivated and unfair, while suggesting that his former client, whom he was convicted of defrauding, was dishonest with him regarding her unsuccessful lawsuit against Trump during his term.

“The defense has contacted me,” Avenatti told The Post by phone from Terminal Island, a minimum-security federal prison in Los Angeles, where he is currently serving a 19-year sentence for extortion, tax evasion, fraud, embezzlement, and other federal offenses.

“I’d be more than happy to testify. I don’t know that I will be called to testify, but I have been in touch with Trump’s defense for the better part of a year,” Avenatti noted, without offering any further details of his conversations with Trump’s legal team.

Someone close to Trump’s orbit confirmed the conversations to The Post.

While Avenatti gained notoriety as one of Trump’s most vehement critics—publicly advocating for Trump’s indictment in 2018—the defense attorney adopted a different stance from behind bars.

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“There’s no question [the trial] is politically motivated because they’re concerned that he may be reelected,” Avenatti said. “If the defendant was anyone other than Donald Trump, this case would not have been brought at this time, and for the government to attempt to bring this case and convict him in an effort to prevent tens of millions of people from voting for him, I think it’s just flat out wrong, and atrocious.

“I’m really bothered by the fact that Trump, in my view, has been targeted. Four cases is just over the top and I think there’s a significant chance that this is going to all backfire and is going to propel him to the White House,” he added. “Depending on what happens, this could constitute pouring jet fuel on his campaign.”

The Post noted further:

Once an obscure California litigator, Avenatti vaulted into public prominence in 2018 while representing Stormy Daniels, the porn star who alleged Trump had an affair with her in 2006.

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While the former president has consistently denied the charge, the $130,000 payment to Daniels to allegedly buy her silence during the 2016 presidential election now lays at heart of the Manhattan criminal case against him.

At his height, the quotable attorney was such a regular presence on MSNBC that he frequently slept in their New York City headquarters.

He name was even floated as a potentially challenging Democratic presidential contender. But everything eventually went south:

In November 2018 he was booked on charges of domestic violence.

In 2020 he was convicted of trying to extort Nike for up to $25 million.

In June 2022 he was found guilty for stealing $300,000 in book advance money from Daniels.

That same month he also pled guilty to federal fraud and tax charges.

In his Post interview, Avenatti ripped Daniels and said she’d make a horrible witness for the prosecution, even suggesting she could commit perjury on the stand.

“Stormy Daniels is going to say whatever she believes is going to assist Stormy Daniels and putting more money in her pocket,” Avenatti said. “If Stormy Daniels’ lips are moving, she’s lying for money.”

Avenatti argued that she would make an unreliable witness in the upcoming trial, citing her history of claiming to talk to the dead and her ownership of a purportedly “haunted” doll named Susan.

“I don’t know how you can possibly put someone who makes those claims on the witness stand and use them as a star witness in a case against a former president United States who’s running for president. That is just absolutely ludicrous to me,” he said.

He added that he wasn’t offering to testify on behalf of Trump for a subsequent pardon later on if Trump wins in November.

“I’m not saying any of this because I’m seeking a pardon,” Avenatti told the outlet.

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