Disbarred lawyer Michael Avenatti raised concerns from prison Thursday about Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s indictment case against former President Donald Trump for allegedly paying hush money to Avenatti’s former client Stormy Daniels.
Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen claims Trump reimbursed him for sending $130,000 to Daniels before the 2016 presidential election so she would not disclose an earlier alleged affair with Trump, and Avenatti represented Daniels in 2018 when she was trying to be freed from a nondisclosure agreement that prevented her from detailing the alleged affair. After a Manhattan grand jury voted to indict Trump Thursday, Avenatti tweeted about the case, referencing “those on the left and in the media who are now hailing Michael Cohen as their ‘hero.’”
“Remember that this is the same guy who publicly claimed repeatedly that a husband can legally rape his wife and who is also on tape threatening physical harm to reporters and their families. #zeronothero,” Avenatti said. Currently incarcerated at FCI Terminal Island in Los Angeles and scheduled to be released in 2036, Avenatti was sentenced to 14 years in December for fraud-related crimes, on top of previous a four-year sentence for stealing $300,000 from Daniels and a 30-month sentence for trying to extort Nike.
Avenatti tweeted Thursday that cases “do not get better with age,” especially “when the ‘case’ is substantially based on the testimony and recollection of two known perjurers who have consistently demonstrated for over five years that the truth is ALWAYS negotiable – for a price.” Cohen pleaded guilty in 2018 for lying to Congress about his work to secure a deal for building a Moscow Trump Hotel, tax evasion, bank fraud and making illegal campaign contributions.
A source familiar with the matter characterized Avenatti as having “very mixed emotions” about the news Thursday, according to reporter Ben Jacobs. Before being indicted himself in March 2019 Avenatti considered running for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, with liberal media figures suggesting he could make an impact in the race.
The sealed indictment against Trump includes about 30 counts related to document fraud, two sources told NBC News. Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz told Fox Business Monday that it “looks like the weakest case in modern history.”
“There are many critical facts and pieces of evidence (texts, emails, etc.) relating to the hush money scandal that have yet to see the light of day,” Avenatti had tweeted on March 17. “And they will unfortunately be very damaging to the prosecution if Trump stands trial. At this point, you simply can’t build a case on the testimony of Cohen & Daniels.”
The Daily Caller News Foundation could not immediately reach Avenatti for comment.
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