Michael Avenatti, Stormy Daniels’ attorney, taunted the President on Friday for taking “two and a half days” to secure counsel for a hearing for his personal lawyer Michael Cohen.
“It’s our view that at the very moment that those raids were conducted on Monday, that a non-waivable conflict of interest occurred between Mr. Cohen and Mr. Trump that mandated, required, that he get new counsel. So I’m not surprised by that,” he told reporters outside the a Manhattan federal court Friday. “What I’m surprised at is it appears to have taken him two, two and a half days to get new counsel in place. In my view, he should have had new counsel by the close of business Monday.”
“It’s shocking to me that the President of the United States is not able to obtain competent legal counsel for 48 hours after the raid was made,” he continued. “That’s rather shocking to me.”
In recent weeks, reports have surfaced alleging President Trump has had difficulties securing attorneys to join his legal defense in the Russia probe. At the Friday hearing for Cohen, Trump was represented by a new lawyer, Joanna Hendon, a partner at the New York-based Spears and Imes firm.
At Friday’s hearing Cohen sought to keep the government from using the materials that were seized when his office, hotel and house were raided by the FBI on Monday until after he had a chance to review them.
As Avenatti confirmed Friday, among the items seized were documents related to a $130,000 payment that Cohen made to Daniels just before the 2016 election. The payment, along with a non-disclosure agreement that Daniels signed, were intended to keep Daniels quiet about an affair she had with Trump a decade ago. Cohen has claimed he made the payment without Trump’s knowledge, but Daniels is suing Trump because he didn’t signed the NDA, making the agreement void, she claims.
“We’re here to ensure that this process is as public and as open as possible,” Avenatti said. “And we’re here to ensure that the American people have as much access to documents and information concerning this critical investigation as possible. We’re also here to support the efforts of the U.S. Attorney’s office from the southern district of New York to ensure that this privilege review is conducted in a fair and equitable manner, that above all else, maintains integrity of these documents.”
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