One wonders what Michael Cohen was doing in his law school contracts class, but evidently the battle is meat-shield mania considering the set-to between Cohen’s attorney and Stormy’s attorney Michael Avenetti on CNN.
Michael Cohen’s attorney just claimed on @OutFrontCNN that Trump was not aware of the Stormy Daniels agreement or the payment, which means that there was no contract between Trump and Daniels, and Daniels can release the materials. Why would he admit this on national television?
Ã¢ÂÂ Renato Mariotti (@renato_mariotti) March 28, 2018
It stands to reason that professional conduct takes it in the neck as Bagman falls on his sword for Lord Dampnut. Perhaps he knows this might be his last days as a lawyer and he (and 45*) seems desperate to know what Daniels has in her possession.
Rule of Professional Conduct 1.8(e) prohibits lawyers from Ã¢ÂÂprovide financial assistance to a client in connection with pending or contemplated litigation.Ã¢ÂÂ If Michael Cohen paid this money to Stormy Daniels to settle her claims against Trump, he violated the rule. https://t.co/ULQF4UfR9h
Ã¢ÂÂ Renato Mariotti (@renato_mariotti) February 14, 2018
CNN found the next best thing to having Stormy Daniels confront Donald Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen to his face about the hush money he allegedly paid her just before the 2016 election. Anderson Cooper sat their lawyers next to each other and had them go at it for close to 30 minutes in prime time Tuesday night.
David Schwartz, identified as a friend and lawyer to Cohen, and Michael Avenatti, who has served as counsel and spokesperson for Daniels, started off their first segment cordial enough, but within a few minutes they were shouting over each other about what did or did not happen between their clients.
Common Cause claims that the payment was in fact a campaign contribution and violated campaign finance laws, a view that Trevor Potter, a former chairman of the federal elections commission, supported in a CBS News interview on Sunday.
“The payment of the money just creates an enormous legal mess for, I think, Trump, for Cohen and anyone else who was involved in the campaign,” Potter said.
Cohen has denied all wrongdoing and has said the payment was not related to the Trump campaign.
The depth of Cohen’s potential legal jeopardy is not yet clear. The former presidential candidate John Edwards was charged with campaign finance violations for secret payments made in 2007 in an attempt to conceal a pregnant mistress, but he was found not guilty on one charge and no verdict was reached on five others.
The Cohen case could entail a more straightforward violation of campaign finance laws, legal analyst Rick Hasen and others have written, because Trump cannot plausibly claim the payments were made in defense of Trump’s personal reputation.
“Given pre-candidate Trump’s reputation, it is not clear that the payment in this instance could be considered personal so as to not sully his already-sullied reputation,” Hasen wrote on his Election Law Blog. “Remember this comes after the ‘grab them by the pussy’ comments.”
More fascinating is this thread showing the collusive lawfare where it appears that Keith Davidson and Michael Cohen played the litigants into signing agreements.
- “My client has agreed to the proposed contract with you. Just sign here, and here, and we’re done. … PSYCH! Guess what, you actually just entered into an agreement with FU LLC, the Delaware LLC I just created.
- Man, I can’t believe you fell for that. No take-backs fyi.”
Cohen’s stupid plan could never work. But it’s even stupider because Cohen wrote the stupid contract in a way that makes it crystal clear WHY it couldn’t work, specifying that Trump waives his claims against Stormy “as material inducements to [her] to enter into this Agreement.”
- “Each Party acknowledges that [Stormy] is executing this Agreement in reliance” on *Trump* releasing certain claims he has against Stormy.
- Michael Cohen can’t offer that. EC LLC can’t offer that either. Only Trump can.
- So if Trump ain’t in the agreement, THERE IS NO AGREEMENT.
- Incidentally, there is no proof for this beyond the fact it’s completely fucking obvious from the contract, but the major promise being offered in the contract here is that Trump was to agree not to initiate a criminal prosecution against Stormy under revenge porn laws.
- Trump “represents that, … in connection with any of [Stormy’s] attempts to sell, exploit and/or disseminate” “certain still images and/or text messages which were authored by or relate to [Trump]”, Trump “will refrain… from disclosing [Stormy’s] name to the authorities.”
Why? Well, if she was convinced she’d go to prison if she didn’t, no wonder she signed.
- Remember this portion of Stormy’s 60 Minutes interview? Yes of course $130K was too low, she knows that. But when she was given this “very strict” agreement, she jumped on the chance anyway.
- None of which is to say any actual crimes were involved here.
- Trump/Cohen likely threatened Stormy with prosecution because she offered a reporter “The Property,” which the contract defines as “certain still images and/or text messages which were authored by or relate to DD.”
- There are so many variations on revenge porn laws in different states that there’s no real way to evaluate the legality of any hypothetical conduct here.
- But that just means Cohen would’ve had a lot of wiggle room to convince Stormy she’d committed a crime here when she hadn’t.
- Or sure, maybe Cohen had a semi-credible argument that Stormy could’ve violated some state’s revenge porn law when she offered send a reporter corroborating evidence of her affair with Trump in the form of pics he texted her of him watching Shark Week. Maybe.
- But the fact she’s pursuing these claims so openly would suggest she’s not afraid of criminal prosecution now.
- But it seems like she was afraid of it back in October 2016. Afraid enough that Trump’s promise not to disclose her name to the authorities was a material inducement.
- Why might that have been the case? If anyone’s taking bets on this, put mine down on the source of Stormy’s fear being her attorney, Keith Davidson.
- Nothing we’ve seen about him so far inspires confidence that it was his clients’ interests that Davidson was advancing.
Davidson represented Karen McDougal too, who Trump also had an affair with. And as alleged in McDougal’s complaint, Davidson was colluding Cohen – across multiple cases – to pressure McDougal and other women into signing agreements by misrepresenting to them the material terms.
Cohen, who threatens violence against reporters who merely call up with questions, speaks GLOWINGLY about an attorney who repeatedly threatened to sue Trump.
- And if there was any room for doubt about what’s really going on here, just look at what Cohen has to say about Davidson.
- For all of Cohen’s truly idiotic legal claims, repeated ethical breaches, & wannabe mobster ways, his sins here are the lesser ones. No one can say he wasn’t zealously advocating for his client. But if Davidson did what the women allege he did, he can’t be disbarred fast enough.