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Disgraced former Stormy Daniels lawyer says he would now testify for Trump

Michael Avenatti, the disgraced former lawyer for Stormy Daniels, has said that he is in touch with Donald Trump’s legal defence team and is willing to testify on behalf of the former president at his hush money trial.

“The defence has contacted me,” Avenatti told The New York Post from prison.

“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 defence for the better part of a year.”

Avenatti is currently serving a 19-year sentence for extortion, tax evasion, fraud, embezzlement and other federal crimes at Terminal Island, a minimum-security federal prison in Los Angeles.

He did not provide any details about his conversations with the Trump defence team.

The Stormy Daniels scandal catapulted Avenatti into the public eye in 2018 when he represented the adult film star, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford.

Daniels alleged an affair with Mr Trump in 2006 — lurid details of which have since emerged — and while the former president has consistently denied the affair, a payment of $130,000 to her ahead of the 2016 presidential election is now at the centre of his current criminal trial in New York.

Once an enthusiastic critic of Mr Trump, then the president — even penning a New York Times op-ed in 2018 calling for his indictment — Avenatti has since switched to backing him in his legal quagmire and sees similarities in their current predicaments.

Adult film actor Stephanie Clifford, also known as Stormy Daniels, speaks outside US Federal Court with her lawyer Michael Avenatti in 2018 (AFP via Getty Images)

“There’s no question [the trial] is politically motivated because they’re concerned that he may be reelected,” Avenatti told the Post.

“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,” he said.

“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,” Avenatti added.

“Depending on what happens, this could constitute pouring jet fuel on his campaign.”

Of the similarities between his own incarceration and the former president’s four indictments, he said: “I think that we were both targeted by the justice system.”

Avenatti was once a regular guest on MSNBC and was even touted by talking heads across the political spectrum as a potential presidential candidate.

He added: “There’s a lot of people on the left that were very concerned about my potential rise within the Democratic Party and my potential rise in Democratic politics. And the fact that I was not someone that was easily controlled.”

Any talk of a political future all came to a crashing halt in November 2018 when he was booked on a charge of domestic violence.

Two years later he was convicted of trying to extort Nike for up to $25m, and in 2022 he was found guilty of stealing $300,000 of book advance money from Daniels. At the same time, he pleaded guilty to federal fraud and tax charges.

Daniels testified against him in his trial and was especially scathing in the aftermath.

Speaking about her now, Avenatti told the Post that he expected his former client to commit perjury should she testify at Mr Trump’s hush money trial.

“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’s lips are moving, she’s lying for money.”

Recalling her past claims that she could speak to dead people and had a “haunted” doll called Susan, he said: “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 of the United States who’s running for president. That is just absolutely ludicrous to me.”

He now refers to her as a “serial liar” and said: “I wish I would have never met Stormy Daniels. I should have left her where I found her.”

Daniels has said she is ready to testify against Mr Trump.

Speaking to the Post by phone, Daniels called Avenatti a “lunatic” and a “scumbag”, but apparently does not regret their meeting.

“I was about to say that I also wish I’d never met him but I’m actually glad because I’m the one that helped convict him so he couldn’t steal from even more unsuspecting clients,” she said.

As to the suggestion that he might be flattering Mr Trump in the hope if he is re-elected he might get clemency from his almost two-decade-long sentence, Avenatti said: “I’m not saying any of this because I’m seeking a pardon.”


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