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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.

Go deeper

18 mins ago - World

Blinken to visit Ukraine as Russia invasion threat looms

Blinken (R) with President Zelensky. Photo: Efrem Lukatsky/Pool via Getty

Secretary of State Antony Tony Blinken will travel to Ukraine on Tuesday as the country faces an ongoing threat of Russian invasion.

Driving the news: Blinken will meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, as well as officials at the U.S. embassy in Kyiv to discuss contingency planning. He'll then travel to Berlin to meet German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock and attend a meeting of the "Transatlantic Quad" — France, Germany, the U.K. and U.S.

Updated 24 mins ago - World

At least 3 dead after Tonga volcano eruption and tsunami

A satellite image of the explosive eruption of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai volcano on Saturday. Photo: UNICEF/NOAA

At least three people are confirmed to have died in Tonga following the undersea volcanic eruption that sent tsunami waves toward the island nation and across the Pacific over the weekend, officials said Tuesday.

The big picture: Officials reported major damage along the western coast of the main island of Tongatapu, where the capital, Nuku'alofa, was covered in ash and dust, including on the runway of the airport. Officials in Tonga confirmed three deaths in the country's first official statement since the crisis began.

Mike Allen, author of AM
1 hour ago - Economy & Business

Charted: GOP surged as Biden slumped

Expand chart
Reproduced from Gallup. (Independents were asked their party leaning.) Chart: Axios Visuals

Gallup polling found a huge shift in party preference over the course of 2021, from a 9-point Democratic advantage in the first quarter to a 5-point Republican edge in the fourth quarter.

Why it matters: It's the biggest swing in one calendar year for Gallup's 30 years of tracking.