A 'Furious' Stormy Daniels Testifies Against Avenatti

He's accused of cheating her out of $300K
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 28, 2022 7:00 AM CST
Stormy Daniels, Michael Avenatti Clash in Court
Michael Avenatti arrives at federal court in Manhattan, Thursday, Jan. 27, 2022.   (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

(Newser) – Stormy Daniels took her star turn on the witness stand Thursday at California lawyer Michael Avenatti’s trial, telling a jury she was "very, very angry" and felt "betrayed and stupid" when she was told that the lawyer she had teamed up with against Donald Trump had stolen from her. Her testimony, which lasted over three hours and will continue Friday, was a highly anticipated moment at the trial of a man who parlayed his representation of Daniels in her legal battles against the president in 2018 into a high-profile role as a Trump adversary, the AP reports. Prosecutors say he cheated the entertainer and adult film actress of nearly $300,000 of her $800,000 publisher's advance for her 2018 autobiography, Full Disclosure.

The showdown with Avenatti became a direct confrontation after he began representing himself on the trial's second day. Avenatti asked Daniels how he was expected to be paid for all the work he did for her since their contract only called for her to pay him $100. She responded that he was expected to draw money from a crowd-funding website that raised $650,000 for her legal expenses along with a share of any proceeds he obtained in lawsuits against Trump. "Any other way?" Avenatti asked. "Not that we agreed upon," Daniels answered. Before long, Avenatti was asking her more personal questions, including whether she has said she has the ability to speak to dead people. "Yes, I've said that," she said.

After assistant US Attorney Robert Sobelman asked Daniels why the attorney-client relationship ended, she said she "hired a new attorney because he stole from me and lied to me." Daniels was shown her text communications with Avenatti between July 2018 and February 2019 as she became increasingly frustrated and angry that she had not been paid. Avenatti blamed the publisher, but a letter from her agent's office showed her in mid-February 2019 that the payments she had not seen had been received by Avenatti as much as six months earlier into an account she did not recognize and had not authorized. Sobelman asked her what her reaction to the revelations were. "I don't know if there is a word stronger than furious," she said. Avenatti has pleaded not guilty to wire fraud and aggravated identify theft.

(Read more Stormy Daniels stories.)

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