The lawyer for former porn star Stormy Daniels denies he has a political agenda, but he did reach out to Democrat groups to help fund the lawsuits he is pursuing against President Donald Trump, according to a new report.
A report in The New York Times indicated that Michael Avenatti was not successful in his effort to get partisan support.
The Times report, which is based on sources that were not disclosed, said Avenatti reached out to an individual close to liberal political operative David Brock while others from his law firm contacted people close to major Democrat donors.
The efforts did not succeed because top Democrats did not see value in giving money to Avenatti, who has largely focused on gaining media attention for his lawsuits and himself, The Times reported.
In its reporting, The Times contacted Susie Tompkins Buell, a Hillary Clinton donor who in the days before the 2016 election “gave $500,000 — later refunded — to the effort funded partly by American Bridge to coax” women claiming they were the victims of sexual misconduct at the hands of Trump to come forward, according to newspaper.
“I’m not sure I would be interested in supporting” Avenatti, Buell said.
Avenatti has publicly denied he has a political ax to grind.
“No, I think I do and say things to advance the interest of my client and our cause and the cases at issue,” he told NPR this week. “And to the extent that may be unsettling to the president that’s not surprising because he is a party opponent in litigation.”
He also insisted that funding for the Daniels case only came through crowdsourcing, which has supplied $525,000.
Avenatti’s lawsuits are connected to a $130,000 payment made to Daniels by Michael Cohen, Trump’s attorney, and a reported non-disclosure agreement regarding what Daniels has claimed was a 2006 fling between the porn star and the billionaire. Trump has denied any affair with Daniels.
Avenatti insisted that “this isn’t about politics.”
“I can’t tell you the name of every person that I have spoken to, or not spoken to, over the last three months,” he told The Times, “but what I can tell you is that we have not taken any political-associated dollars from anyone on the right or anyone on the left. Period.”
In a statement to CNBC, Avenatti said Democrats are not the party most interested in supporting him.
“But what I can tell you is we have turned down over $200,000 from Republican donors looking to harm the president,” he said. “They offered the money in the last month.”
Avenatti has had a mixed week. On Wednesday, he was told by U.S. District Court Judge Kimba Wood that she would only allow him to formally become part of the case against Cohen if he would tone down his publicity machine.
“You are entitled to publicity so long as — that is, I can’t stop you, unless you are participating in this matter before me,” she said, leading to Avenatti dropping his bid to be part of the case.
Avenatti’s law firm is also being pursued by creditors, The Wall Street Journal reported.
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