‘He stole from me’: Stormy Daniels testifies at Avenatti Trial

Stormy Daniels, the porn star whose lawsuit against former President Donald J. Trump was at the heart of the 2018 scandal, testified Thursday in the trial of Michael Avenatti, the attorney. once represented her but is now charged. steal from her.

“He stole from me and lied to me,” Ms. Daniels testified in Federal District Court in Manhattan after called as a government witness shortly after 11 a.m. At the end of the day, Ms. Daniels is being cross-examined by the man who had been her fierce advocate: Mr. Avenatti, who was working as her personal attorney. me.

The courtroom scene was the culmination of a split between Ms Daniels and Mr Avenatti, who have become known around the world as an unlikely pair seeking to bring down a sitting president, but coalition Their relationship fell apart when the charges against Mr. Avenatti were made.

Mr Avenatti said earlier in the day that his cross-examination of Ms Daniels would take hours, but within minutes of questioning before Thursday’s trial ended, he questioned her claim that She can see and talk to dead people. .

Ms Daniels admitted to saying it, explaining that she was part of a project called ‘Ghost Children’ which she said was about ‘paranormal activity’. Mr. Avenatti will resume his cross-examination on Friday.

Ms Daniels, whose legal name is Stephanie Clifford, has long been known in the world of pornography but has become known to a wider audience after suing Mr. Trump, saying he was using a non-disclosure agreement. exposed to try to stop her from talking. about a sexual encounter between them that she said happened years earlier.

Mr. Avenatti filed that lawsuit in California on behalf of Ms. Daniels, saying the agreement – which came with a $130,000 payment from Mr. Trump’s attorney at the time – was void because Mr. Trump had not signed it.

The non-disclosure agreement was not enforced, and Mr. Avenatti secured Ms. Daniels a contract to write a book, “Full Disclosure,” for St. Martin’s Press. Together, Ms. Daniels and Mr. Avenatti have become household names as two of Mr. Trump’s strongest critics; Mr. Avenatti flirted with a presidential run.

But prosecutors have said that Mr. Avenatti, using a bogus letter purporting to be Miss Daniels, tricked her literary agency into sending him about $300,000 of her money. Some of that was spent on personal and office expenses, including hotels, meals and a monthly payment for a Ferrari, according to the indictment.

Prosecutors also said that Avenatti was not entitled to any money from Ms. Daniels’ publisher. Mr. Avenatti has suggested that he will make a case he deserves.

Mr. Avenatti, who was convicted two years ago of attempting to extort millions of dollars from Nike in a separate criminal case, is charged with aggravated phone fraud and identity theft.

Over the years, Ms. Daniels has occasionally spoken out about Mr. Avenatti, but her testimony on Thursday – in oath and in public court – appears to provide the most complete public record of the memos. her memories of him and of their failure. It also brings old allies back together in the same room.

Mr. Avenatti and Ms. Daniels were once the stars of what is often called a “protest” to the Trump presidency, appearing together on “60 Minutes” after a California lawsuit was filed against him. Trump has heavy-handed tactics and intimidation.

Wearing a black dress and a dark red coat, Ms. Daniels testified Thursday in a clear voice. Mr. Avenatti rarely seemed to glance in her direction, instead looking down as he took complete notes.

Ms. Daniels began her testimony by describing how she first met Mr. Avenatti in early 2018 at the Waldorf Astoria in Beverly Hills, California. She said that after telling Mr. Avenatti about the non-disclosure agreement and her history with Mr. Trump, she also made it clear that there was not much money for a person to keep or deposit.

During their next meeting at a Los Angeles restaurant, Ms. Daniels testified, Mr. Avenatti said he would represent her to make the $100 payment. She added that he would set up a legal defense fund to raise more money, and take a portion of any funds awarded as a result of the lawsuit against Mr.

Daniels testified: “When it comes to a book deal or a movie or a documentary, we discuss it later. She said she paid Mr. Avenatti $100 in cash. He used that money to pay for lunch, she added.

Much of Ms. Daniels’ testimony describes text messages she exchanged with Mr. Avenatti over a period of several months in 2018 and 2019. Those messages were displayed on screens inside the courtroom, shows that Ms. Daniels asked again and again about money. that she believes Saint Martin is in debt to her.

Mr. Avenatti reacted in a variety of ways while agreeing to help receive payments, at times accusing the publisher of causing trouble and at times saying he was “threatening to sue”.

“I trust him to handle it,” Ms Daniels testified when asked by the prosecutor why she sought Mr. Avenatti’s help. “Because he’s my lawyer.”

In February 2019, Ms. Daniels sent a message to people in St. Martin’s to inquire about what she believes is a loss of money, she said. At that point, she added, she began to suspect that Mr Avenatti had been cheating on her.

“Someone was dishonest,” she testified. “And I want to find out who.”

Soon, Ms. Daniels said, she received evidence from someone at her literary agency that money from St. Martin’s was sent to an account controlled by Mr. Avenatti. When she confronted him, he replied, “Let me find out if we will receive this payment,” the text exchanges show.

But by that time Ms. Daniels had all the necessary evidence.

“I knew he was lying,” she testified, adding: “He lied to me almost every day for five months.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/27/nyregion/michael-avenatti-stormy-daniels-trial.html ‘He stole from me’: Stormy Daniels testifies at Avenatti Trial

Fry Electronics Team

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