A Stunningly Credible Conspiracy Theory Of Colluding Adverse Attorneys.
Michael Avenatti, the current attorney for porn star Stormy Daniels, recently tweeted some interesting documents.
Before diving into this, it may be helpful to review the players.
Stephanie Clifford: Porn star Stormy Daniels’ real name.
Karen McDougal: Playboy model who claims she had a ten month long affair with Trump that started near the time Cliffords/Daniels alleges Trump had sex with her. McDougal’s story was the subject of a “catch and kill” contract with the National Enquirer which paid her for the exclusive rights to the story but then did not publish it.
Shera Blanchard: Playboy model who became pregnant, after an affair with billionaire, and Republican National Committee Deputy Director of Finance, Elliott Broidy. The pregnancy ended with an abortion.
Keith Davidson: Former attorney for Stephanie Clifford and Karen McDougal and Shera Blanchard. It was Davison who negotiated the Hush Agreement on behalf of Clifford, and who negotiated the catch and kill agreement for McDougal with the National Enquirer, and the Hush Agreement between Broidy and Blanchard. These agreements effectively killed all these stories until after the election.
Michael Cohen: Trumps personal attorney and self declared “fixer.” Target of a recent series of deeply probing search warrants that indicate he will very likely be indicted soon.
Joseph Palazzolo: Reporter for the Wall Street Journal, who in the days before the election, was investigating evidence of relationships Trump may have had with Stephanie Clifford and Karen McDougal.
What you see in Avenatti’s linked documents is an email chain forwarded by Clifford’s attorney, Keith Davidson, to the supposedly adverse attorney, Michael Cohen. The chain starts with an email from Joseph Palazzolo of the WSJ seeking more information on rumors of a Trump affairs with Clifford and McDougal.
Davidson responds, angrily, threatening to sue the WSJ for defamation and invasion of privacy. Davidson lies to Palazzolo telling him that:
“I have not now, nor previously represented anyone adverse to Donald Trump. I have not sought nor obtained any settlement from him. Any statement from you or the Wall Street Journal to the contrary is false, defamatory and otherwise actionable.”
The statement is clearly untrue. At the time Davidson had already obtained and secured a settlement from Trump on behalf of Cliffords/Daniels. Yet Davidson attempted to intimidate the WSJ based on this lie.
The constancy of Davidson’s name in these things isn’t confined to McDougal and Clifford. Davidson also negotiated, with Cohen, the Hush Agreement payment on behalf of yet another Playboy model, Shera Bechard, and Republican National Committee Deputy Finance Chairman Elliott Broidy. That’s the one that got pregnant and whose $1.6 million settlement from the Republican financed her abortion. That’s some pretty swampy stuff Trump’s personal attorney and fixer is involved in.
It should be noted some claim Broidy took the fall for Trump, and that Trump really had the affair that impregnated Bechard. Notably, Bechard has not said who she had the affair with.
Bechard, like Clifford and McDougal, came to believe Davidson was working for Cohen and Trump, and not for them.
Avenatti claims Davidson conspired with Cohen. The evidence for that is pretty good. The significance of this email exchange is not simply that Davidson was lying to the WSJ, and threatening legal action against them to protect Cohen’s client (Trump), but also that Davidson was forwarding this email chain to his supposedly adverse attorney (Cohen).
Nor was Davidson’s dishonest assistance to Team Trump without substantial legal risk to him. The rules of attorney ethics make clear that “In the course of representing a client a lawyer shall not knowingly make a false statement of material fact or law to a third person.” If Davidson’s lies, and threats based on them to the WSJ, don’t break this guideline, nothing does.
Connections still don’t end. Cohen referred clients to Davidson. While adverse attorneys referring clients to each other is not terribly unusual, when combined with other evidence it becomes more disconcerting, particularly since at least one referral was of Trump associate Chuck LaBella.
McDougal asserts in her lawsuit against AMI (the parent company of the National Enquirer) that AMI, Davidson and Cohen were part of a “broad effort to silence and intimidate her and others.” Within a month AMI settled with McDougal, completely acquiescing to her core demand that she be released from her “catch and kill” agreement and be free to speak on the issue.
Because it was so difficult for me to imagine lawyers acting in such a fashion, I didn’t give McDougal’s conspiracy allegations much credence when I first saw them, but the combined weight of new evidence and circumstances certainly makes it credible.
The suggestion here is that Trump’s personal attorney had the attorney for all these women making such allegations in his pocket. Together, Trump’s personal attorney, the attorney for Stephanie Cliffords, Karen McDougal, Shera Blanchard (and possibly others), along sometimes with the National Enquirer, all conspired to silence women with credible allegations of sexual misconduct against Trump or other high ranking Republican officials.
This is kind of incredible stuff when you think about it. It could even rise to criminal fraud. Davidson is listed as among those cooperating in the investigation of Cohen.
From Avenatti’s perspective, this affords another basis to void the Hush Agreement the President of the United States continues to attempt to use against his client. Avenatti will argue that from the beginning the agreement was nothing but a bad faith fraud, a fraud that included her own attorney.
It’s also even more evidence what a complete sleeze Trump’s very personal attorney and fixer Michael Cohen is. If you are a Trump supporter you should be very concerned at what else the investigation of Cohen, to include a proctoscopic level series of search warrants, has found.
My prediction. This stuff is already very weird, and it’s going to get more weird.