Stormy Daniels tells the jury that Michael Avenatti ‘robbed me and lied to me’ | stormy daniels
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Stormy Daniels and Michael Avenatti, two former friends once united in a mission to overthrow former President Donald Trump, were reunited in a federal courtroom in New York on Thursday – but face each other as enemies.
The adult film actor and producer told a jury in the criminal case against Avenatti, his former lawyer, that he “robbed me and lied to me”.
Prosecutors have accused Avenatti, 50, of stealing more than $300,000 from the proceeds of a book deal Daniels was to have in 2018 for memoir revealing his exploits in the porn industry and the brief affair that she says she had with Trump.
Trump denies the case, Avenatti denies the charges and since he fired his own attorney earlier in the week, it fell to Avenatti to cross-examine Daniels on Thursday afternoon, shortly before the end of court for the day and after she had already testified for the prosecution for more than three hours.
It began quite cordially, the fourth day of testimony. “Mrs. Daniels, good afternoon,” said Avenatti.
“Hello,” Daniels replied.
He then asked how he was supposed to have received payment for the legal services he provided to Daniels.
“Legal defense fund and winnings against Donald Trump,” Daniels said, referring to fundraising efforts to cover his legal fees, in addition to a $100 upfront payment and his litigation against the former American president.
She added, when pressed further by Avenatti, that she believed no other way to pay him had been agreed.
Earlier on the prosecution’s witness stand, Daniels calmly described her relationship with Avenatti when he first represented her and her ultimate deterioration when she learned that he allegedly stole part of her her book advance while telling her that the publisher hadn’t released the money because the book wasn’t doing well and she hadn’t met the publicity requirements.
When she was initially told of her $800,000 book deal, she said she shared her joy with Avanatti via text message.
“My face was numb from smiling,” Daniels told the court.
She remembered him calling her “an American hero” and swore he would never take a dime off her book deal.
“I also want to say how much I generally love you as a human being. Thank you for letting me into your life,” Avenatti wrote in a text read to the court.
When Daniels did not receive the second installment of payment for her book on time, she feared the publisher, St Martins Press, was trying to withhold the funds, she said. But then she grew suspicious of her lawyer and her would-be champion.
The court heard that in August 2018, Avenatti texted Daniels asking for her approval for different actors who could potentially voice the audio version of her memoir, Full Disclosure, and she replied, “Where the fuck is my silver ?”
Avenatti allegedly received that second installment but diverted it to a separate account that Daniels was unaware of, the jury was told.
After a third payment failed to reach him, Daniels, reading the correspondence aloud in court, texted Avenatti saying, “Find my fucking money” to which he replied with apparent acquiescence: ” Word!!!!!!!”
When she found out about the alleged theft, she felt “very, very angry, in disbelief and I felt very betrayed and stupid,” Daniels told the court.
Daniels presented an upbeat tone, was serious at times and at others sharing pleasantries with the judge and prosecution team.
When asked about the TV show Spooky Babes, which she is on and where she and others pursue paranormal activity, Daniels further clarified that the “babes” in the title are because “they are attractive people.” .
In cross-examination, Avenatti asked Daniels if at any time she had talked to a doll named Susan who is featured on Spooky Babes.
“Yes, she has her own Instagram,” Daniels replied.
His court appearance was a much-anticipated moment in the trial of a man who turned his portrayal of Daniels in his legal battles against Trump into a prominent role as a pro-media adversary.
Before speaking, Assistant US Attorney Robert Sobelman, Prosecutions, said: “The government is calling Stephanie Clifford, also known as Stormy Daniels.” He then asked if Daniels preferred to use another name.
“Stormy Daniels,” she said, explaining that was her stage name.
Daniels said she 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 date with Trump more than a decade earlier. She had been paid $130,000 days before the 2016 presidential election to remain silent. Trump denied the allegations.
She said a formal agreement required 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.
She said a crowdfunding website raised $650,000 for Avenatti’s payment.
Avenatti denies wire fraud and aggravated identity theft. The trial continues.
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