Michael Avenatti, the lawyer representing President Donald Trump’s new number-one nemesis, adult actress Stormy Daniels, has withdrawn his motion to participate in Michael Cohen's court proceedings after a judge ruled he would have to stop his “publicity tour.”
Avenatti had requested to be admitted into the proceedings after the FBI raided Trump's lawyer's home and office and seized documents and recordings, allegedly including the Access Hollywood tapes.
But Judge Kimba Wood had some concerns.
"You cannot declare your opinion as to Mr. Cohen's guilt, which you did. You would not be able to give publicity to documents," Wood said, according to the New York Daily News.
"You're entitled to publicity. I can't stop you — unless you're participating in a matter before me."
The ruling came after a stern rebuke of Avenatti’s request from Cohen’s attorney Stephan Ryan, who said Daniels’ lawyer’s frequent media appearances, his declaration of Cohen’s guilt and release of Cohen’s financial information, should result in him withdrawing from the proceedings.
Judge Wood echoed similar concerns, saying Avenatti’s “conduct” is “inimitable to giving Mr. Cohen eventually a fair trial.” She did not rule on whether Avenatti would be allowed to appear formally in court.
"Until you are admitted I don't expect you to stand here and be heard," the judge told Avenatti.
After the hearing ended, Avenatti withdrew his motion to appear without prejudice after an almost an hour.
The initial purpose of the hearing was to gather an update over the review of the documents seized by the FBI but changed course after Avenatti alleged recording involving Daniels’ former attorney and Avenatti’s conduct were leaked by Cohen or his associates.
Wood has given Cohen’s team till June 15 for the review of the seized documents, despite pleas from the attorney to increase the duration.
However, Wood declined, citing she wants to keep the investigation on track. Any documents left to be reviewed by Cohen’s team, would then be handed over to a “taint team” of independent attorneys.
During the proceedings, Ryan rebuked Avenatti’s request to appear formally in the case, saying any recordings were “kept under lock and key.”
Avenatti later pounced on the statement made by Cohen’s attorney regarding the protected recordings.
"It is clear from today's proceedings that Mr. Cohen and his attorneys are hell-bent on continuing to hide the truth from the American people. As a result of our efforts there was a shocking admission in court today, namely that just like the Nixon tapes years ago we now have what I will refer to as the 'Trump Tapes,'” he said.
Ryan also accused Avenatti of misconduct, as he alleged Avenatti released Cohen’s personal financial information with at least three organizations, before it was publicly released.
"My phone rang off the hook the day before he released an embargo from at least three different entities," Ryan said.
He also alleged the released information included other individuals named Michael Cohen and was a “drive-by shooting” of anyone with the name.
Avenatti, whose law firm Eagan Avenatti was recently ordered to pay $10 Million to a former attorney after they failed to make a promised payment, also had questions raised about his conduct in the court.
During the Eagan Avenatti case, Daniels’ lawyer said the particular form never represented Daniels. However, Joanna Hendon, Trump's attorney, produced three emails as proof of “misconduct” in which Avenatti still used the law firm’s e-mail address.
In court, Avenatti called the claims, “quite the tale” but an hour later, he withdrew his motion to formally appear in the case, however he kept the option open to re-file if he sees appropriate later.
Thumbnail/ Banner Credits: REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton