Nov 28, 2018

5. Report: Stormy Daniels says Avenatti filed Trump defamation suit "against my wishes"

Adult-film actress Stephanie Clifford, also known as Stormy Daniels, with her lawyer Michael Avenatti. Photo: Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/AFP/Getty Images

Stormy Daniels told The Daily Beast that her attorney Michael Avenatti went against her wishes and filed a defamation suit against President Trump earlier this year as well as started crowdfunding page to pay for her legal defense fund without informing her.

"I’m tremendously grateful to him for aggressively representing me in my fight to regain my voice. But in other ways Michael has not treated me with the respect and deference an attorney should show to a client. He has spoken on my behalf without my approval. He filed a defamation case against Donald Trump against my wishes. He repeatedly refused to tell me how my legal defense fund was being spent."
— A portion of Daniels' statement

The other side: When asked about two active CrowdJustice sites, Avenatti told The Daily Beast, “We reset the page as the focus of the case changed from when we first launched the site.”

  • He also said that funds have been used to cover the expenses listed on the website, such as his client’s security detail due to death threats, and the “other out-of-pocket costs of the litigation are also extraordinary (and I'm not speaking of attorneys' fees).”

The backdrop: Avenatti filed the defamation lawsuit in April based on "irresponsible and defamatory statements” the president made on Twitter that questioned Daniels credibility. But last month, a federal judge in California dismissed it and ordered Daniels to pay Trump’s legal bills. The president’s attorneys have asked for almost $350,000 in legal fees, and The Daily Beast reports that Daniels is seeking to lower that amount.

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A protest in Philadelphia on May 31. Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Images

Local news footage captured a tanker truck appearing to drive toward protesters at a peaceful demonstration in Minneapolis, as demonstrators quickly got out of the way of the incoming vehicle on Sunday evening.

The big picture: Protests have continued across the country for six days, as demonstrators call for justice in response to the deaths of George Floyd and other other black Americans who have died in police custody or who have been killed in racist attacks.

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Tanker truck appears to plow into Minneapolis protesters

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Details: Minnesota Department of Public Safety tweeted, "Very disturbing actions by a truck driver on I-35W, inciting a crowd of peaceful demonstrators. The truck driver was injured & taken to a hospital with non-life threatening injuries. He is under arrest. It doesn’t appear any protesters were hit by the truck."

Inside Trump's antifa tweet

President Trump at Cape Canaveral on May 30. Photo: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

As recently as Saturday night, senior administration officials told me that the designation of a violent cohort of far-left activists, antifa, as a terrorist organization was not being seriously discussed at the White House. But that was Saturday.

Behind the scenes: The situation changed dramatically a few hours later, after prominent conservative allies of the president, such as his friend media commentator Dan Bongino, publicly urged a tough response against people associated with antifa (short for "anti-fascist").