A newly released report found that Stormy Daniels’ attorney Michael Avenatti has earned nearly $175 million in free media coverage due to his many appearances on CNN and MSNBC over the past two months.
Avenatti is representing Daniels, an adult film actress whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, in a case against President Donald Trump aimed at releasing her from a non-disclosure agreement she signed with Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen.
In the agreement, which Clifford reportedly entered into just days before the November 2016 presidential election, the porn star allegedly received a $130,000 payment in exchange for agreeing not to discuss a sexual encounter she claims she had with Trump in 2006.
Clifford has not abided by the terms of the agreement, as she has appeared in multiple interviews discussing the alleged liaison.
Avenatti told CNN in March that the contract stated that Clifford must pay a $1 million penalty for “every episode that she goes out and speaks in violation of the confidentiality.”
The Washington Free Beacon reported that Avenatti, who is not a party to the agreement, made at least 108 appearances on CNN and MSNBC from March 7 to May 10.
An analysis by the news outlet calculated the value of those appearances in terms of publicity for the attorney to be $174,631,598.07, based on the “National Publicity Value” determined through the monitoring site TYEyes.com
“Avenatti’s favorite shows include CNN’s ‘Anderson Cooper 360’ (at least 20 interviews), MSNBC’s ‘The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell’ (14), CNN’s ‘New Day’ (12), CNN’s ‘Tonight with Don Lemon’ (eight), and MSNBC’s ‘Deadline White House’ (seven),” according to The Beacon.
The conservative media watchdog group NewsBusters reported earlier this month, Avenatti averaged over one appearance a day on CNN from March 7 to April 30.
The Beacon noted in addition to CNN and MSNBC, the attorney has been a guest on CBS’ “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” Showtime’s “The Circus,” NBC’s “Megyn Kelly Today,” ABC’s “The View,” HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher,” and network morning shows “Today,” “CBS This Morning,” and “Good Morning America.”
Former Bill Clinton aide Mark Penn called on Avenatti to reveal who is paying his legal bills in the Daniels case in an opinion piece for The Hill on Thursday.
“From the beginning, this has been fishy,” wrote Penn. “Daniels’s previous lawyer advised her to stick to her agreements.”
He continued, “In contrast, Avenatti okayed her violating with impunity her non-disclosure agreement on ’60 Minutes’ despite a binding arbitration judgment against her.”
“She acknowledged on Twitter that she is not paying for her lawyer. So who is? And did he indemnify her against all multimillion-dollar penalties?” Penn asked.
Avenatti tweeted a response later in the day stating: “Once again (for at least the 20th time)–ALL fees and expenses of this case have either been funded by our client, Ms. Stephanie Clifford, or by donations from our crowdjustice.com page.”
He later told The Daily Caller that any claim he was being funded by the left or other political interests was “utter bulls—, and you can quote me on that.”
To date, the crowdfunding effort has raised over $459,000.
Avenatti reported that Clifford paid him a “de minimis” amount after hiring him and is no longer paying him for his services.
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