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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

2 hours ago - World

Putin foe Navalny to be detained for 30 days after returning to Moscow

Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny. Photo: Oleg Nikishin/Epsilon/Getty Images

Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny has been ordered to remain in pre-trial detention for 30 days, following his arrest upon returning to Russia on Sunday for the first time since a failed assassination attempt last year.

Why it matters: The detention of Navalny, an anti-corruption activist and the most prominent domestic critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, has already set off a chorus of condemnations from leaders in Europe and the U.S.

Biden picks Warren allies to lead SEC, CFPB

Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden has selected FTC commissioner Rohit Chopra to be the next director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and Obama-era Wall Street regulator Gary Gensler to lead the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Why it matters: Both picks are progressive allies of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and viewed as likely to take aggressive steps to regulate big business.

The perils of organizing underground

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Researchers see one bright spot as far-right extremists turn to private and encrypted online platforms: Friction.

Between the lines: For fringe organizers, those platforms may provide more security than open social networks, but they make it harder to recruit new members.