Michael Cohen has two problems emerging from the several emails Stormy Daniels’ attorney Michael Avenatti has released in recent days. First, they suggest he was awful chummy and perhaps conspiring with Daniels’ original attorney, Keith Davidson, who was supposed to be negotiating the best deal for Daniels, not Cohen.
Second, Avenatti’s latest releases suggest he is in at least partial possession of the case file that contains previous correspondence between Cohen and Davidson, and Avenatti clearly believes there’s more where that came from. ThinkProgress’s Judd Legum writes:
As a matter of practice, lawyers maintain case files for the benefit of their clients. If the client decides to seek new representation, the information in the case file is generally deemed to belong to the client, and it’s then forwarded to the new attorney. In this case, it appears that Davidson turned over these communications to Avenatti as part of Daniels’ case file.
Avenatti hinted as much during a hearing in New York in late April in which he sought to intervene in a dispute about how the materials seized in the raid of Michael Cohen’s office would be handled. Avenatti argued that Davidson and Cohen were continuing to discuss his client’s case and that those communications were part of her case file, which belongs to her.
Of course, those communications, whether they be by email, text messages, or otherwise, would technically belong to my client because it would be part of her attorney-client file.
As it is, Avenatti is already making the most of what he has in his possession.
Here’s Cohen’s effort in February to minimize the fallout of Daniels switching attorneys. And note, whom he still says he’s representing in his signature.
Knowing what we know now, no wonder Mr. Cohen was doing everything he could to interfere with Ms. Daniels' efforts to get new counsel. He was desperate to avoid the cover-up from surfacing and was afraid that competent counsel would expose him and Mr. Trump. #MoreToCome #Basta pic.twitter.com/FCzzFwcEsP
— Michael Avenatti (@MichaelAvenatti) May 11, 2018
To quote: “Under no circumstances should you forward this document or the exhibits to anyone without my express written consent.” Avenatti ultimately filed the lawsuit in early March suing Cohen to release Daniels from the Nondisclosure Agreement (NDA) negotiated by Davidson.
Then Cohen sends this chummy email to Davidson in April, two days after the FBI raid on his apartment.
On April 9, the FBI raided Mr. Cohen’s home, office and hotel room. Within 48 hours, Mr. Cohen sent the below email to Mr. Davidson. Why? They had no ongoing legal matter at the time. Was it part of an attempt by Mr. Cohen to obstruct justice or worse? #basta pic.twitter.com/e7DfLSxG4x
— Michael Avenatti (@MichaelAvenatti) May 10, 2018
Avenatti may have more correspondence where that came from and might also obtain access to more correspondence between Cohen and Davidson seized in the FBI raid. Neither scenario is good for Cohen or Donald Trump, frankly.