Nov 28, 2018

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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New Zealand sets sights on coronavirus elimination after 2 weeks of lockdown

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern gives a coronavirus media update at the New Zealand Parliament in Wellington. Photo: Mark Mitchell - Pool/Getty Images

AUCKLAND -- New Zealand has flattened the curve of novel coronavirus cases after two weeks of lockdown and the next phase is to "squash it," Professor Shaun Hendy, who heads a body advising the government on COVID-19, told Axios.

Why it matters: The country imposed 14 days ago some of the toughest restrictions in the world in response to the pandemic, despite confirming only 102 cases and no deaths at the time.

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 2:30 a.m. ET: 1,431,375 — Total deaths: 82,145 — Total recoveries: 301,543Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 2:30 a.m. ET: 399,886 — Total deaths: 12,910 — Total recoveries: 22,461Map.
  3. Federal government latest: Acting Navy secretary resigns over handling of virus-infected ship — Trump removes watchdog overseeing rollout of $2 trillion coronavirus bill — Trump said he "didn't see" memos from his trade adviser Peter Navarro warning that the crisis could kill more than half a million Americans.
  4. States latest: California Gov. Gavin Newsom is confident that more than 200 million masks will be delivered to the state "at a monthly basis starting in the next few weeks."
  5. Business latest: America's food heroes in times of the coronavirus crisis. Even when the economy comes back to life, huge questions for airlines will remain.
  6. World updates: China reopens Wuhan after 10-week coronavirus lockdown.
  7. 2020 latest: Polls for Wisconsin's primary elections closed at 9 p.m. ET Tuesday, but results won't be released until April 13. Thousands of residents cast ballots in person.
  8. 1 Olympics thing: About 6,500 athletes who qualified for the Tokyo Games will keep their spots in 2021.
  9. What should I do? Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  10. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

Tariff worries hit record high amid coronavirus outbreak

Data: CivicScience, margin of error ±1 percentage points; Chart: Axios Visuals

Concern about President Trump's tariffs on U.S imports grew to record high levels among Americans last month, particularly as more lost their jobs and concern about the novel coronavirus increased.

Driving the news: About seven in 10 people said they were at least somewhat concerned about tariffs in March, according to the latest survey from CivicScience provided first to Axios.